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By Anthony Jones
Last week’s action featured both impressive victories and tough losses for Triad baseball.
Their stretch of mixed results began on Mar. 22 in Collinsville. The Kahoks entered the Madison County matchup with a 1-2 record.
Collinsville jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first frame and would score six more by the end of the third. Triad responded with a run in the top of the fourth, but the Kahoks extended their lead to 15-1 by the end of the inning.
The Knights would pull within 15-4 in the top of the fifth, but their comeback hopes fell short as they were shortgamed. Ethan Bagwell, a Mizzou pitching commit, finished with three innings and one hit allowed for the victors.
Triad again hit the road on Mar. 24, visiting the Chatham Titans. The Titans presented a familiar face for the Knights, having eliminated them in last year’s super-sectional round.
The contests would ultimately be called due to rain in the top of the fifth. Prior to the weather’s arrival, the Knights drove in two runs against Louisville commit Parker Detmers.
Opposite Detmers, Austin Brown pitched four shutout frames for the Knights. The senior ace finished with one hit allowed and seven strikeouts.
Triad’s next action came the following morning in the form of a home contest with Mt. Vernon. The Rams also presented a familiar face for the Knights, after having met in last year’s sectional semi-final round.
A three hit and three run first inning gave the Rams an early advantage that they would retain for the remainder of the action. Five runs in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth would contribute to an 11-0 short game victory for the visitors.
Triad competed later in the day as part of a triangular and hosted the Effingham Flaming Hearts. Effingham, a sectional semi-finalist last season, defeated Mt. Vernon 9-7 earlier in the day.
Taking to the bump for Triad was TJ Suter, who escaped the bases being loaded with one out in the first frame unscathed.
Taking the mound for the Flaming Hearts was Josh McDevitt, a Mizzou commit. Suter helped himself against the pitching ace, pushing his team ahead 1-0 with an RBI double in the bottom of the first.
Home plate remained would not be touched again until Triad’s Brady Coon homered to left field. His deep shot also drove in Hayden Bugger, who doubled earlier in the inning.
The final tally of the day came in the bottom of the fifth. After Suter doubled and was replaced by Isaac Ackerman on the base paths, Nic Funk drove him in with a hard hit single.
This 4-0 lead was more than enough for Suter, who went the distance in a shutout victory. The senior also extinguished six Effingham batters at the plate.
“Everything felt good. All the work I’ve been putting in before this game really paid off,” Suter spoke of his success from the mound.
Suter is also enjoying an expanded role for Triad this spring, “It’s good. I’m really excited to do anything. I’m getting more opportunities to show what I can do, I’m ready for it.”
Coach Jesse Bugger was also happy to see his squad end their roller coaster of a week with a win.
“The boys played really well this afternoon and that’s just what we needed. It’s been an interesting 24 hours between going to Chatham last night and playing four innings in the rain and playing early this morning. This week we faced two SEC arms and an ACC arm,” Bugger remarked.