Prep Baseball

Tigers end Blue Devils' season

By MATTHEW KAMP
Special to The Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 23, 2019 12:01 am Updated: May. 23, 2019 12:03 am

ALTON, Ill. -- Three outs shy of his first seven-inning complete game of the season, Edwardsville starting pitcher Grant Schaefer didn't get the opportunity to finish it.

The second-ranked Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to finish off an 11-1 victory over Quincy High School in Wednesday's semifinals of the Class 4A Alton Regional.

"It would have been nice to go back out there and finish it, but we got the win and I'll take it," Schaefer said.

Top-seeded Edwardsville (31-5) advances to face the winner of fourth-seeded Belleville East (18-17) and seventh-seeded Alton (13-18) at 10 a.m. Saturday in the regional championship. Eighth-seeded Quincy ends its season at 10-23.

"Coming into the season, we were pretty inexperienced and pretty young," said Blue Devils coach Brandon Crisp, whose team is losing only four seniors. "We have some good classes coming up. At some point, though, we can't use that as an excuse. We have to be ready to play."

Quincy was able to get to Schaefer for a run on two hits and an error in the first. With the bases loaded and one out, Cole Parkhill hit a deep sacrifice fly to right center to score Noah Harbin for the 1-0 lead.

The Blue Devils left two on, as Schaefer got out of the inning with a hard-hit one-hopper to shortstop Josh Ohl.

"We came out and swung the bats well," Crisp said. "We got a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. With two outs, we had a decently hard-hit line drive that didn't get through. They were able to minimize it."

Schaefer settled in from there, retiring 15 of the final 18 he faced. He retired nine straight after a two-out triple by Donovan Prost in the third.

In his six-inning outing, Schaefer allowed an unearned run on four hits with six strikeouts and a hit by pitch.

"They put some good swings on the ball in the first inning," Schaefer said. "After that, I started working faster and hitting my spots with the fastball. I was working low in the zone."

Now 6-1 on the season, Schaefer has allowed one earned run over his last five starts. During the stretch, he is 5-0 with a 0.29 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 24 innings.

Wednesday was his longest outing of the season. He had five five-inning starts but none stretched further.

"Grant got sharper as the game went on and made some good pitches after the first. He's been consistent for us," Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser said.

The EHS offense didn't waste any time backing up its pitcher, scoring five runs in the first to take control of the game.

The first five hitters reached against Quincy starter Trevor Wiemelt. Dalton Wallace delivered the big blow, a two-run double to left to make it 4-1. Ohl scored on a wild pitch for the 5-1 lead.

"That was huge. It wasn't as hard on me after that," Schaefer said of the run support.