CARTERVILLE — Second seed Carterville trailed 4-2 with one out in the sixth inning when Jarrett Glenn launched a 3-2 pitch out of the park to give the Lions a 5-4 win over ninth seed Murphysboro on a hot Wednesday to advance to the finals of the Carterville 3A baseball regional
“I hit off the tee last night on some drills for pulling the baseball,” Glenn said. “He was throwing high and then threw one in the dirt before throwing the next one down the middle.”
Carterville (21-7) will play for the title at 11 a.m. Saturday against the winner of Thursday’s other semifinal between third seed Carbondale and sixth seed Herrin.
“Murphysboro came here to win the game and I want to give the Murphysboro pitcher a lot of credit for a very gutsy performance and as a high school coach for a long time I respect that,” said Carterville coach Bobby Jackson. “We walked too many people and gave up four runs in the first two innings on three hits, but the big thing is our kids didn’t quit. We could have panicked and we didn’t. I thought Bryce Anderson came in and did an outstanding job in relief. He put goose eggs up the rest of the way to give us a chance for Glenn’s big home run.”
The Red Devils starting pitcher Seth Daniels had held the Lions to two runs on four hits over the five innings and retired the first batter in the sixth when he hit Peter Baker on the first pitch and walked Tyler Bittle on a 3-2 pitch with Glenn in the on-deck circle.
“Daniels threw the ball well and kept them off balance,” said Murphysboro coach Andrew Winters. “He got outs when we needed to, but he kind of ran out gas in that last inning. It’s unfortunate (Glenn) got a good swing on what I thought was a good pitch.”
Winters brought in Eaton with runners at first and second and one out. Eaton’s first pitch was a high strike, but the next two were just a bit too high. After a high inside pitch evened the count at 2-2 Eaton’s next pitch was low to run the count full.
Glenn hit the next pitch high in the air to left field where it kept keep going until the ball left park for his first career game-winning home run.
“I hit it and was thinking two all the way and then I saw some people out there with their arms up and it went through my head, ‘Oh, I just hit a home run’,” Glenn said.
Murphysboro (11-23) jumped on Lions starting pitcher Nikolas Laird in the first inning, sending eight batters to the plate. Daniels led off with a double and Laird walked three of the next four batters to force in a run and one out later with bases loaded Dylan Eaton drove in two more runs on a bloop single to right.
After Laird issued his fourth base on balls with one out in the second, Anderson was called in from second to take over the pitching duties. A dropped ball in right allowed the first batter he faced to reach, but the runner at first was thrown out at second when he had to hesitate.
After Nick Stokes stole second, Kenny Peteren drove him home with another bloop hit, but this time to left. On a 0-2 pitch to Trenton Shephard, catcher Luke Anderson caught Peteren trying to steal second to end the inning.
Anderson (3-0) walked Shephard to open the third inning and then retired the next 11 batters in a row, until he issued a two-out walk to Eaton and gave up a base hit to Gavin Kuba.
Anderson got out of the jam on a called third strike to Payton Austin and sat down the side in order in the seventh to seal the win. The sophomore right-hander pitched 5.2 innings giving up one unearned run on two hits and two walks with six strikeouts.
“To be honest coach told us earlier in the week he was going to have a lot of guys pitch today, so I wasn’t expecting to go that long,” Anderson said. “I just got in a groove by locating my fastball and curveball. Coming in I didn’t think we had a lot of energy, but after we scored those first two runs it gave us some momentum and went along from there.”