CARBONDALE — The Carterville Lions scored 22 runs on 25 hits and held the opposition to just three, winning 11-2 over Tolono Unity and 11-1 over Carbondale in a three-team non-conference baseball battle Saturday at Terrier Field.
"We had a very good practice yesterday and the kids came out swinging," said Carterville coach Bobby Jackson. "It started off with Alex Griffen and Blake Jackson, our one-two hitters, getting on base all day and stealing bases. They made things easier for our batters down the order. We did a little bit of everything today. We scratched runs out, hit-and-run, bunted, moved runners from first to third and even executed a suicide squeeze perfectly. It was a great day for Carterville baseball."
In the first game, Carbondale led 2-0 behind the pitching of Seth Germann, but Tolono rallied with a run in the sixth and five in the top of the seventh to win 6-2.
"Germann threw five really strong innings, but we just couldn't close," said Carbondale coach Chad Perschbacher. "We've been slumping at the plate the last three, four games. I knew we'd hit this slump at some point, so we just have to keep swinging and hope for the best."
Carterville (6-4) opened against Tolono Unity with Griffen pitching the first five innings for the win. The Lions led 9-0 before the Rockets broke the shutout bid with a run in the bottom of the fourth.
"With the pitch-count (rule) we needed to get good pitching today from both our starters and relievers," Jackson said. "Griffen did a great job in the first game and Ben Holdcomb, Julian Harshbarger and Alex Haake did a great job out of the pen in the second."
The Lions banged out 11 hits with Griffen, Jackson, Peter Baker and Tyler Bittle finishing with two hits each. Cole Sizemore drove in three runs on a home run.
In the nightcap, Jackson went three-for-three with an RBI to finish the day with five hits in six at-bats with two RBIs. Griffen, Baker, Cam Hall and Cole Landon also had two hits against Carbondale.
"I've been hitting the ball good all year, except for the past couple games," Jackson said. "Today I kept hitting it hard and they finally fell. We were running low on pitching, so we knew we had to come out and score, but 22 runs is quite a bit."
Carbondale (2-10) took the lead in the top of the first when Hall walked the first three batters. Ben Holdcomb came in to face the bases loaded jam.
Skyler Peterman greeted the senior left-hander with a sacrifice fly to score Dylan Perrott. Holdcomb shut down the rally by getting Zach Beckmann on a line drive to center and Bodie Jones on a fielder's choice to second base.
The Lions took advantage of a Carbondale error and a wild pitch in the bottom of the first to score three runs on just one hit. Griffen led off by drawing a walk off of the Carbondale starter Alec Barrett. He advanced to second on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Jackson and scored when Kaleb Vaughn's line drive was muffed by the left fielder.
Jackson scored on a ground out to short by Sizemore and Vaughn crossed the plate on a wild pitch in the dirt on the first pitch to Baker.
Holdcomb (1-1) pitched around a one-out walk in the second with a 6-4-3 double play and a one-out error in the third on a ground out to third and a fly ball to center. He retired the first two batters in the fourth when Ryne McCoy singled up the middle for Carbondale's first hit of the game.
Julian Harshbarger came in and got Robbie Martin on a bouncer to first to close out the inning. In the fifth, Harshbarger pitched around two walks with two strikeouts and a pop fly to the mound.
Alex Haake came in to pitch the sixth and after striking out the first two batters got into a two-out jam on a bloop single to center by McCoy and an error. He got out of the inning by getting Mitch Sisk to ground out to short.
Jackson drove in a run in the second inning. The Lions scored two runs in the third on a base hit by Hall and a suicide squeeze by Landon.
Carterville upped its lead to 10-1 with four runs in the fourth on a one-out single by Vaughn and back-to-back two-out RBI singles by Baker and Hall. The fourth run scored on an error.
The Lions triggered the mercy run with a run in the sixth on a one-out base-loaded bloop single by Bittle.