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By Anthony Jones
Three teams visited Triad’s baseball diamond last week, but none left with a win.
The Knights largest margin of the week came during their Mar. 30 meeting with the Wheaton-Warrenville South Tigers. Triad prevailed 7-0 in that matchup.
Austin Brown set the tone early on his way for a complete game for the Knights, striking out three batters in the top of the first.
Brady Coon set the offense’s tone early as well, homering to left field on the second pitch of the bottom of the first. Carter Vandever, Nic Funk and Wyatt Bugger subsequently loaded the bases to set up a McGrady Noyes walk that made the score 2-0.
A passed ball later allowed Funk to stretch their lead to 3-0 by the end of the first. Triad’s next run came in the bottom of the second, with a Vandever sacrifice fly driving Coon in.
Wheaton-Warrenville South started the third inning with a single, but Brown retired the next three batters in order. The Triad ace would ultimately retire 14 consecutive batters after the leadoff hit.
The Knights added on their final two runs of the game in the fourth. Their first two tallies came from a two-run shot by Hayden Bugger and Funk later hit an RBI single for the 7-0 advantage.
Closing out the game in the top of the seventh, Brown struck out the final Tiger batter. This marked his tenth strikeout of the day.
Brown discussed the keys to his successful outing,“Fastball was just feeling good tonight. Just starting with strikes was pretty much it.”
Coach Jesse Bugger spoke of his pitcher’s day, “Austin’s very, very consistent with what he does. I’m not sure that he was super sharp tonight, but for what he had–no walks, no runs–we’ll take that at any time.”
Triad’s win over the Tigers was their second shutout in as many days, having defeated Murphysboro Red Devils 4-0 in a seven inning affair.
Funk took much of the mound work in that win, going six innings in the start. Owen Droy closed out the game after allowing only four batters to the plate.
The Knights scored what would be the only run through the first five frames in the bottom of the second. Their 1-0 lead was scored off an RBI groundout from Donny Becker that drove in Wyatt Bugger.
Triad found their scoring ways again in the bottom of the sixth, starting with an RBI single from Wyatt Bugger to score TJ Suter. Becker added his second RBI of the night to extend the lead to 3-0 and Wyatt Suter added on the game’s final RBI in the 4-0 final.
The Knight’s first game of the week came against Mater Dei on Mar. 27. The red-uniformed Knights prevailed 9-5 against the visitors.
The first two innings saw both teams score, providing a 1-1 tie. It was the third inning that proved decisive however, with Triad jumping ahead 6-2.
Coon would pitch through the fifth inning for the red Knights, keeping their 6-2 lead intact. Sawyer Brunson tossed the final two frames for Triad, allowing three runs in the seventh that negated a three run sixth by his offense.
The now 6-2 Knights are now set to embark on a five game campaign over six days, starting with an April 3 home game with Salem. Other opponents across the loaded week include Centralia, Christian Brothers, Wesclin and Granite City.
Coach Bugger looks forward to the busy stretch.
“We’re going to play quite a bit, which is the way this game should be played and it’s best for us. As long as you’re playing well, it’s really good. If you’re playing poorly, it’s really tough sometimes but I think the more we play and the more we play consistently, the better off we’re going to be,” Triad’s manager said of the action-packed slate.