CARTERVILLE — The Carbondale Terriers baseball team adjusted to the warmer weather with some hot offense in an 11-1 five-inning win over Herrin in the semifinals of the Carterville 3A Regional on Thursday.
Carbondale (18-7) put up four runs in the first inning and plated six in the fifth to make it a shortgame win and advance to Saturday's championship game against the host Lions.
The Terriers didn't seem to mind Thursday's suddenly miserable weather one bit, especially after stringing together four straight hits in the opening frame.
Bodie Jones drove in leadoff hitter Justin Massingale, who drew a walk from Herrin starter Cameron Damico, then James Baltz doubled and both Dylan Perrott and Riley Dyer followed with singles for a quick 4-0 lead.
"They've done a really good job this week of working through it and we pushed them a little harder than normal just because we knew it was going to get hotter," said Carbondale coach Scott Hankey. "But that's what this team can do. Our goal was to put the pressure on them so they couldn't put the pressure on us. And our guys did a good job of executing."
Jones, one of the area's top players, has been cleared for postseason play after a previous injury was deemed not as serious as originally thought, Hankey said. Jones served as designated hitter Thursday and drew a walk and scored twice in addition to his RBI single in the first.
Baltz went 3-for-3 and scored three of the 11 runs, including Carbondale's lone run in the third inning on a double by Dyer, who had also had an RBI sac fly during the six-run fifth.
Dyer also had the pitching duties and only gave up three hits. Cameron Evrard had two of them and Hunter McRoy had the other to plate Herrin's lone run in the top of the fifth.
Baltz doubled and scored in the fifth, which also included hits by Massingale and Rushing in addition to Herrin relievers allowing three walks and a hit batter.
The Tigers, who finished at 11-18, seemed to be sunk after the opening frame, which didn't go unnoticed by coach Rick Damico.
"It's kind of been the story of the year for us," he said. "I love our kids to death and they're good kids and I don't mean this as a personal attack but we need some tougher kids. They fold too easy and I don't know how to change that. But other than that we had a very productive year."
Damico also heaped praise on the Terriers, who already owned a win over the Tigers this season.
"Carbondale is a good team," he said. "You don't win the South Seven by being a bad team. They hit the ball well from top to bottom, they've got kids that throw strikes, and they play defense."
Herrin showed steady improvement throughout the season and could bring most of this year's lineup back next spring.
"Our record was disappointing but I think we had seven or eight one-run losses and you break that up or win them, it's a different season," Damico said. "But I'm happy with the kids. They do everything we ask of them. Today we had a freshman, two sophomores and six juniors on the field. So we've got a lot to look forward to coming back next year."
Carbondale, meanwhile, lives on and comes back Saturday to face Carterville (21-7) at 11 a.m. for a spot in the Salem Sectional.
"We played them here and lost in the middle of April," Hankey said. "But they're a better team and we're a better team so it should be a good game."