CARTERVILLE — Ninth seed Pinckneyville kept its improbable postseason run alive with an up-and-down 6-5 extra innings win over second seed Trico in the semifinals of the Zeigler-Royalton Class 2A baseball regional hosted by John A. Logan College on Wednesday because the field at Zeigler-Royalton was too wet.
“I always joke with the kids that they are why I need heart medication,” said Pinckneyville coach Bill Segelhorst. “It was kind of the same thing when we beat Waltonville Monday because we believe in each other. We’re playing as a team and everything is clicking so well right now we’re just riding the train for as long as we can.”
Pinckneyville (6-19) advances to the regional final for the first time since 2010 after being knocked out in the playoffs in the quarterfinals the last four seasons. The regional continues today with third seed Zeigler-Royalton playing fifth seed Du Quoin in the other semifinal with the winner facing Pinckneyville on Saturday at noon.
Pinckneyville took the lead in the top of the ninth when the second baseman dropped a short pop off the bat of Lucas Teel, allowing Trent Morgenstern to score from second.
“Not to take anything away from Pinckneyville we didn’t do enough little things right today,” said Trico coach Ben Kohen.
Noah Carter (2-3) got the first out on a foul pop fly to catcher Draeden Kreger, but walked Nick Compton on a 3-1 pitch to bring Garrett Thies to the plate.
Compton (5-1) took off for second on the first pitch and when the ball went back to the backstop on a swinging strike Compton went to third. Carter then fell behind in the count 3-1 and on the next pitch Thies hit a high fly to mid-center field where Wyatt Gale made the catch and threw a bullet to the plate.
“I knew he was going to tag at third, so I wanted to make a good hard throw to home even though I’m not really known for having a strong left arm,” Gale said. “When I let the ball go I knew it was pretty good and was hoping Draeden would get him.”
Kreger caught the perfect throw and tagged out Compton, who had to retreat to third to tag the base before running home for the game ending double play.
“I saw he got a bad jump off third and he was kind of stagging,” Kreger said. “I knew it was going to be close as soon as it left his hand, but the throw was on the money, so I knew I had the tag.”
“I was watching the ball and Nick is a pretty fast kid, but I guess he didn’t get tagged up quick enough and the kid made a perfect throw,” Kohen said.
Trico (15-8) tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out double by Trenton Wilson against Carter, who had relieved Morgenstern earlier in the inning with runners at first and second with one out.
When Carter came into the game, Segelhorst made three moves in the field. Hunter Riggins moved from centerfield to replace Carter at shortstop. Gale moved from left field to center and Morgenstern took over in left.
Carter struck out the first batter he faced and on his first pitch to Wilson, the senior second baseman hit a pop foul ball that was caught by the catcher.
“It’s always hard when you miss a play, but what it comes to is you have to make the next play and I didn’t in the bottom of the ninth,” Kreger said.
On the next pitch, Wilson hit a line drive to deep right center field to drive in pinch-hitter Korey Bunselmeyer, who had walked with one out, and Austin Bastien, who had reached when his high pop fly was dropped in short left field by Carter.
Pinckneyville regained the lead in the top of the eighth when Compton walked Teel to leadoff the inning. Teel scored two outs later when Carter singled to center and the center fielder let the ball get past him for an error.
Trico tied the game again in the bottom of the frame on a leadoff double by Jesse Smith and a one-out single to left by Kaden Wilson.