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By Mark Jurgena
The Collinsville baseball team got back above the .500 mark last week taking two of their three contests including splitting with SWC rival O’Fallon.
CHS stands at 13-12-1 after the week. They are 3-5 in the SWC which is good for fourth place while O’Fallon is 21-6 overall and in second place in the SWC with a 7-3 record.
CHS 4 O’Fallon 3
In the immortal words of former Cardinals announcer Mike Shannon, “Ol’ Abner’s done it again.”
With the score tied 2-2 heading into the top of the seventh at Blazier Field in O’Fallon, the Kahoks had the top of the order due up.
They came through with two runs to take a 4-2 lead and reliever Ethan Bagwell stranded the tying run in scoring position to give Collinsville the victory.
Collinsville coach Brett Swip decided to piggyback the two pitchers he used all season during conference play.
“We wanted to see our two traditional conference guys in Bryce Lemp and Ethan Bagwell – they’re both juniors – we put them together,” said CHS coach Brett Swip. “Bryce threw three and Ethan threw four innings. We ended up scoring a couple of runs in the seventh and beating them.”
In that seventh, Collinsville had to get runs off O’Fallon’s David Barker. The Panther hurler entered the day with an 8-0 record and had only given up two earned runs all season in 41.2 innings.
“Barker has got a real lively arm and he’s been mowing people down all year,” said Swip. “We started off and he hit our first guy. That gave a little energy to us there.”
That guy was lead off man Kolby Anderson took a hit by pitch on a 3-0 count from Panther pitcher David Barker to get the rally started.
Carter Harrington singled on a push bunt to the right side against the O’Fallon wheel coverage against a bunt.
With the third baseman bearing down on Harrington, the defender was too close to home and couldn’t cover his base as both Kahok runners sprinted their way into scoring position.
Anderson scored on a wild pitch to give CHS a 3-2 lead.
With one out, Luke Weller came to the plate and fell behind 0-2 in the count.
On the third pitch of the at-bat the right handed hitter smacked an outside pitch into right field to bring home an insurance run they would later need.
In the bottom half, the Panthers used a pair of one out hits to put runners at the corners and scored on a wild pitch to make it a 3-2 game with the tying runner at third.
But Bagwell induced a ground out to Curtis Schaaf at first base as the Panther runner held at third before the final out was caught in center field by Anderson.
That seventh inning flipped the script that had the Panthers in the lead and the Kahoks trying to catch up.
In the third OTHS scored in the bottom of the third but the Kahoks answered in the top of the fourth when Adam Bovinett homered to right field on a 1-0 pitch to knot the score 1-1.
But O’Fallon answered with a run in the bottom half thanks to three freebies courtesy of the Kahoks and took a 2-1 advantage.
CHS made up the deficit in the top of the sixth on another home run, this time by Bagwell.
For the game, the Kahoks had five hits off Barker. Bagwell, Bovinett, Harrington, Weller, and Darren Pennell all reached safely.
Lemp started the game going three innings giving up only one hit, one unearned run and striking out three. The lefty gave out no free passes.
Bagwell finished with four innings of work scattering three hits while giving up one unearned run. He walked two and struck out seven.
O’Fallon 1 CHS 0
Two days before O’Fallon scored in the top of the first and that was it.
They left Fletcher Field with a 1-0 victory.
“It was a tight one,” said Swip. “We had an error on a pickoff in the first inning and they scored on a sac fly and we outhit them the rest of the game. We just couldn’t scratch (a run).”
Bagwell led the hitting charge with a pair of hits including a double. Schaaf and Weller had singles as well.
Kris Alcorn started for CHS and put in an outstanding performance on the mound.
He worked six innings giving up three hits and no earned runs. He struck out nine and walked two.
“We gave Kris Alcorn the start in the first game and he just had an incredible start,” said Swip. “He had a really lively arm. His velo was sitting at a good spot and he was able to throw his offspeed in multiple counts.”
CHS 4 Litchfield 1
The day after the O’Fallon win the home-standing Kahoks got a big four-run sixth to notch a come-from-behind win over the visiting Purple Panthers.
“One of our mottos this year has been ‘learning how to win multiple ways,’” said Swip. “When you’re a program that’s trying to get to a level where you’re supposed to be at you can’t always win with the longball, the big hits, the loud strikeouts. You’ve got to learn how to win how to scrape and claw.
“Would we have liked to put up more runs in that game of course. Their pitcher kept us off balance and had a little bit more velocity than we expected so we had to make some in-game adjustments.”
CHS had three of their five hits for the game in the seventh but also benefitted from three walks and a hit by pitch.
With one out, Bovinett got things started with an infield single and was removed for courtesy runner Darren Pennell. Blaine Martinez then smacked the first pitch he saw for a double to left to put two runners in scoring position.
Anderson followed with a walk to load the bases and bringing Harrington to the dish.
The sophomore coaxed a walk on an eight pitch at bat to tie the game 1-1 and start the ball rolling for CHS.
Schaaf smacked a double to right to make it a 3-1 game with two more runners in scoring position.
Litchfield got the second out of the inning on a pick off play but couldn’t stem the tide as Weller loaded the bases again before Tyler Linton brought home the final run with another walk.
Mason Hartmann was the starter for CHS going four innings and giving up only two hits. He gave up one earned run while walking five and striking out three.
Martinez came in relief going three innings, giving up one hit striking out four and walking one.
Collinsville’s schedule really ramped up in this the final week of the regular season for large schools.
On Monday they hosted Centralia before they traveled to Belleville East for an SWC contest Tuesday. Wednesday they traveled to Carbondale. Unfortunately for all three of those games results came in after press time.
Today they host Belleville East at Fletcher Field before hitting the road Saturday to take on Marion.
On Wednesday they play Alton in the opening round of the Class 4A Edwardsville Regional at 6 p.m. Should they win they face the winner of Edwardsville and Quincy for the championship on Saturday at 10 a.m.