CARBONDALE — Junior righthander Dylan Compton allowed a first-inning run and then shut the door on the Woodlawn Cardinals offense the next five frames en route to an 8-1 Goreville victory in the opening round of the Class 1A Sectional played Wednesday at Itchy Jones Stadium on the SIU campus.
Compton said it was his intent to work his off-speed pitch more against the Cardinals.
"I was really working on getting the curveball away and then throwing it high and in. I wanted to let my defense go to work. I wasn't worried about strikeouts," he said. "I knew they could hit the ball. We played Woodlawn in the fall and they hit me good, so I knew that I had to come out with something different - something they weren't expecting. I never tried to blow one by them. I was just trying to place everything, and today it was working for me."
Compton said it means a lot to him to help his team advance in the postseason.
"We just have to keep going," he said. "We have two more games we have to win (to make it to state). This is just one. We have to keep fighting."
Blackcats coach Shawn Tripp said he was pleased with Compton's effort.
"Dylan battled his butt off," Tripp said. "We throw him a lot. His curveball was nice today. It kept them (Cardinals) off balance and that was important because that's a great hitting team over there."
Compton worked six innings in all, allowed one run on five hits, struck out two and walked two. Moss hurled the final frame, retiring the side after a leadoff walk.
Pitcher of record for Goreville was starter Nick McElroy. He worked only two innings and surrendered six runs on six hits. Jake Hyde and Christian Smith tossed the final four innings.
Tripp said the first inning proved to be the difference in the game.
Woodlawn managed only one run after the first two batters - McElroy and Hayden England - reached base on singles. Hyde drove in McElroy with a ground out to the shortstop. Compton then got Hunter England and Quaid Odum to pop out on the infield.
In the bottom of the frame, Goreville countered with a five spot.
Briley Dunn beat out a slow roller to the pitcher for an infield single. Kanon Webb forced him out at second with a grounder to short. Tristen Green bounced to third. The throw to second by Christian Smith was wild, however, leaving both runners safe. A.J. Johnson followed with an RBI single. Compton also singled to drive in a run and the ball eluded the grasp of right fielder Talen Lee for an error.
After Rhett Schuetz struck out for the second out of the inning, Drake Moss reached on Smith's second error of the inning. Hunter Francis then delivered an RBI single to drive in the fifth run.
"Fortunately, we were able to minimize their damage in the top half of the first and then retaliated with five of our own," Tripp said. "I give a lot of that credit to Briley Dunn. If he doesn't hustle like he did, he's out and we probably don't have as big an inning."
The Blackcats extended their lead to 6-1 in the second inning when Dunn had a leadoff single and came around to score on an RBI single by Green.
Goreville added a seventh run in the fourth inning when Webb walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Schuetz.
The boys from Johnson County tacked on one final tally in the sixth when Johnson singled, advanced on a base hit by Compton - his second hit of the game - and scored on an RBI ground out to third off the bat of Francis.
Woodlawn coach Sam Root said lack of defense was a big factor in the loss. His ballclub committed five errors overall.
"I think we gave them six or seven outs that first inning," he said. "Give Goreville credit, though. They got a couple of key hits early. You give them a lead like that and it allows their pitcher to settle down. It's a lot easier to throw strikes. Offensively, we're absolutely better than the way we played today, but you're not going to have it every day."
Woodlawn finishes its season 18-9. Goreville improves to 16-9 and will play the winner of Steeleville-Century on the road Friday for the sectional championship.