CARTERVILLE — After blowing a 5-0 and a 9-5 lead, Carbondale rallied on a clutch triple by Riley Coffer to score four runs in the sixth inning of the Carterville Class 3A regional on Saturday. Dylan Perrott closed out with two shutout relief innings to beat Carterville, 13-10, the Terriers' first regional title since 2014.
“This was a game that anybody who knows us and knows them couldn’t see coming, especially with Bodie Jones and their stud on the mound,” said Carbondale coach Scott Pankey. “This was just one of those days where....honestly I’m lost for words. Give credit to Carterville for battling back to score in every inning until Perrott shut them down. That’s a senior stepping up on the big stage with a huge senior moment. Coffer had been struggling a little bit, but he’s loaded with confidence and grit. Those two are what this year has been about. When we needed something somebody would step up.”
Carbondale (19-7) advances to the Salem sectional to play Highland (21-13) in the second semifinal at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
The game featured 23 runs on 27 hits with Carbondale banging out 15 and Carterville 12. Bodie Jones led the Terriers with three hits and five others each had two hits. Bryce Anderson, Peter Baker and Cameron Hall led the Lions with three hits each.
Trailing 10-9, the Terriers batted around in the sixth inning to retake the lead. Jones got the rally going with a bloop single to right, and James Baltz kept it going with a double down the right field line to tie the game.
Perrott then drew a walk on five low pitches, including a wild pitch on ball four, to send Baltz to third. Nikolas Laird relieved Austin Barnard and struck out the next two batters before Coffer came to the plate.
Coffer had driven in a run in the first inning on a ground out, hit into a fielder’s choice in the third, and led off the fifth with a single. The junior third baseman lined Laird’s first pitch to the wall over the head of the center fielder, clearing the bases for his first triple of the season and the game-winning RBIs.
“I knew I was getting a first pitch fastball, so I decided I would swing at that and do what I could do with it,” Coffer said. “He threw it belt high right down the middle of the plate. I didn’t feel the ball when I hit it, so I just took off running. When I got to second base I didn’t see the ball so I kept on going. I haven’t exactly been struggling lately, but more like hitting the ball right at people.”
Laird then walked Jack Goodale before Justin Massingale drove in the last run on a bouncer to left.
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Massingale (5-0) was the lucky recipient of the four-run rally to pick up the win after giving up three runs in the fifth on a wild pitch. An error and a sacrifice fly by Chandler Roberts gave the Lions its only lead in the game (10-9).
“You can only come back so many times,” said Carterville coach Bobby Jackson. “Our kids kept battling, kept battling, kept battling, kept grinding and it finally caught up to us.”
Perrott took over in the sixth and after getting the first two outs gave up back-to-back infield hits to Keaton Pestka and Hall before striking out Anderson.
“I just wanted to throw strikes and my fastball was really working good today,” Perrott said. “I knew I had a good defense behind me, so I let them hit it. The two hits I gave up didn’t bother me because they were weak infield hits. So I just shook it off and struck out the next guy. I was hyped after that.”
In the seventh inning Perrott hit Luke Anderson with one out, but got Laird and Baker on fly balls to earn his first save of the season.
“I don’t come in relief very much,” Perrott said. “In fact this might be just second time this year. I was told I was going in in the bottom of fifth but since I was batting third in the top of the sixth I had only about five minutes to warm up.”
Carbondale jumped on Pestka for five runs on six hits in the first inning. The big hit being a two run single by Perrott. Carterville came right in to tie the game with two runs in the first on a Baker single after two walks. Then they scored two runs in the second inning on a leadoff error followed by back-to-back doubles by Hall and Anderson, and one run in the third on an RBI single by Tyler Bittle.
Carbondale upped the lead to 9-5 in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Jones and a two-run double by Riley Dyer. The Lions cut the lead in half with two runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI triple by Roberts and a ground out by Luke Anderson.