Andrew Kash looks to make contact during the Hornets 5-0 win over Carterville on April 6.
By Brent Huelsmann
After their first conference game of the season against Anna-Jonesboro was canceled due to inclement weather, the Hornets baseball team began conference play with two straight wins over Sparta and Carterville, before losing a non-conference game to Mascoutah.
In their first game of the week, the Hornets saw senior Austin Anderson get his first start of the year in a 1-0 win over the Sparta Bulldogs. A pitching duel, the two teams combined for just four hits in the game.
The lone run of the game came in the third inning, when Hayden Heggemeier drove in Brogan Kemp.
It was all Anderson needed on the mound, as he gave up just one hit, in six innings of work. Anderson did not walk a batter, and struck out 13 in the win. Jacob Woodrome came on for the final inning, and struck out a batter without giving up a hit.
At the plate, the Hornets finished with just four hits. Heggemeier finished 1-3 with a RBI and a stolen base. Trevor Meier had the only extra base hit of the game, as he finished 1-3 with a double. Kemp finished 1-1 with a run scored, a walk, and a stolen base. Cameron Parker had the other hit for Nashville.
In their next contest, the Hornets again got a great effort on the mound as they defeated the Carterville Lions 5-0 on April 6.
The Hornets got off to a quick start, as Woodrome drove in two with a single in the first inning. Nashville would grab another run in the frame, as Andrew Kash drove in another. After scoring three in the first, the Hornets could not extend their lead further after having the bases loaded and one out.
It would be all the staff needed on the mound, as Ryan Brink started the game for Nashville, and went 5.1 innings. Brink gave up just two hits, and struck out eight batters to get the win on the mound. The final inning and two-thirds was pitched by Woodrome, who did not give up a hit, and got four of his five outs via the strikeout.
The Hornets added a run in the third and a run in the fifth, to get the 5-0 victory.
After the game, Coach Chad Malawy talked about the win. “Any time you get a conference win you’ll take it. It’s a ten game playoff run, is the way we look at it and we’re just trying to advance. We’re happy to be 2-0 in the conference, and Carterville is a solid team.”
At the plate the Hornets were led by Woodrome and Kash, who each had one hit and two RBIs in the win. Cameron Parker added two hits for Nashville, while Brink, Meier, and Cody Bauza each finished with a hit in the win.
Nashville then traveled to Mascoutah on Saturday for a game that was a late addition to the schedule. After being rained out on Thursday against Mater Dei, the Hornets added the game on Saturday against the Indians. In the game, Mascoutah took advantage of miscues by the Hornets to win 4-2.
After some nice defensive plays from Brink kept the Indians off the board through the first two innings, Mascoutah would break through for a run in the third and a run in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead over the Hornets.
Nashville would come back in the fourth, as back-to-back RBIs from Meier and Kash tied the game at two. The game would not stay tied long, as the Indians bounced back for two runs in the bottom half of the fourth. The Hornets could not complete a comeback as Mascoutah took the game 4-2.
“We just didn’t make the routine play today, and that got us. Brogan gave us a great effort on the mound, and Brogan threw good enough to win for us. Unfortunately for us they had some timely hitting, and we made untimely errors. That was the story of the game.” said Coach Chad Malawy after the game.
Brogan Kemp started the game on the mound, as he gave up four runs, three earned, and struck out four over six innings of work. At the plate, Nashville only managed four hits in the game. Heggemeier, Brink, Jake Heck, and Kemp each had a hit in the loss, all of which were singles. Meier and Kash had the lone RBIs for the Hornets.
On April 10, the Hornets won their third straight conference game, 10-1 over rival Pinckneyville. The win moved the Hornets to 3-0 in conference play and 11-3 overall.
Heggemeier set the tone early for Nashville, as he crushed a home run to lead off the game, giving the Hornets a 1-0 lead. By the end of the first inning, the Hornets would hold a 5-0 lead over the rival Panthers.
The score would hold steady until the fifth, when the Hornets added two more runs as Cameron Parker drove in Ryan Brink to score the first run, and would score on an error by the Pinckneyville to push the Hornets lead to 7-0.
After Pinckneyville scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, the Hornets would put the game away with three runs in the sixth and go on for a 10-1 win.
Anderson started the game for the Hornets, as he put up his second straight start with double digit strikeouts. Anderson gave up just one unearned run, four hits, and struck out 10 batters. After the game Malawy summed up Anderson’s performance by saying. “Austin Anderson was awesome on the mound today.”
Overall, Malawy was happy with his team’s play. “Always feels good to come and get a conference win on the road, and keep moving forward towards the conference crown. Offensively Hayden set the tone with his shot there to get on the board. I think it made all of our hitters a lot more confident and a little more relaxed and we banged some balls around the first inning and took advantage of it.”
At the plate, the Hornets cranked out 12 hits in the win. Heggemeier had the lone home run for Nashville and finished 2-4 with two runs scored and a RBI. Brink finished the game 2-3 with three runs scored, a walk, and two RBIs. Cameron Parker also added two hits in the win, scored two runs, and drove in a run. Kash had two hits and a RBI in the win. Heck and Anderson each finished with a hit and a RBI in th ewin. Meier and Tyler Jahnke each finished with a hit for the Hornets.