Redskins Capture Montgomery County Crown

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Nokomis' Carter Sabol threw six strong innings in the championship game of the 2019 Montgomery County Baseball Tournament Saturday afternoon, April 13, to lead the Redskins to a 5-1 win over the host Hillsboro Hiltoppers. Left fielder Adam Lyons contributed three outstanding defensive plays to aid Sabol, who gave up only three hits: a single to Griffin King in the fourth, a double to Kaden Lemon leading off the sixth, and  an RBI single to Jordan Gregg in the sixth. Evan Herpstreith worked a scoreless seventh.

Lyons made an over-the-shoulder catch either on or a step over the foul line in deep left field of a Lemon line drive in the third. In the fourth he initiated a rare double play. With King on first with the Toppers' first hit of the game, Gregg  launched a shot into the left center field gap on a hit and run play. King passed second as Lyons made an unlikely running catch in the gap; when he caught up with the drive, King returned to first but missed second in his hurry to return. An eagle-eye on the Redskin bench suggested an appeal toss to second where King was called out. Lyon's third "Wow" play was a diving nab of a bloop hit to shallow left. Thus Lyons was responsible for four of the 18 outs credited to Sabol, who struck out seven.

Sophomore Hayden Grosenheider made his varsity start for Hillsboro and did well once the jitters subsided. He walked Alex Tosetti, Drew Massett, and Nicholas Mascher as the game began. After a bases-loaded pop-up to first by the clean-up hitter, Herpstreith singled in a run before Sabol drew an RBI walk. Those were the only runs Grosenheider would allow.

Following him to the mound was another rookie, sophomore Owen Anderson. Of the three runs he allowed over the last four innings, only one was earned. Jake Johnson reached on an error to lead off the fourth and scored on an RBI single by Massett. In the sixth Marc Grigoroff reached on an error, took second on a passed ball, and scored with two out when Tosetti tripled into deep center field. The earned run came in the seventh; Mascher singled to right and, with two out, scored when Sabol singled up the money.

The Toppers  and the Litchfield Purple Panthers played an exciting if not artistic game to see who could play Nokomis for the championship. It wasn't decided until Hillsboro pushed across a single run in the bottom of the seventh to break the 5-5 tie they forged in the bottom of the sixth.

Jake Frerichs, a Litchfield lefty, had his team ahead 4-3 entering the fifth. Topper pitcher Drew Willman gave up five runs on only five hits in the six innings he worked for Hillsboro, but his team trailed till the sixth. Topper closer (and shortstop) Griffin King, who had a save Friday afternoon against the Panthers, earned the win Saturday morning though the first three batters he faced reached base.

Brady Bishop, who had three of Purple's six hits, had a single to lead off the seventh followed by a Frerichs' double. Billy Beckham was walked intentionally, his second intentional pass to first in the game. Then King fanned the clean-up hitter, gave up a ground ball to a pulled-in infield that forced Bishop at the plate, and induced a ground ball out to short to close the inning. 

In the bottom of the seventh, Litchfield reliever Jeremy Frazier, in his third inning of work, deserved a better fate. Landon Carroll reached on an infield error, stole second, and stayed there with no one out while Frazier induced an infield pop-up. 

Clean-up man Jordan Gregg was walked intentionally (for the second time in the game); both he and Carroll moved up a base as Frazier threw a wild pitch before striking out the fifth man in the order for the second out. Frazier then had a 1-1 count on Dylan McCammack before another wild pitch allowed Carroll to score the winning run.

Willman persevered through some misfortunes in his six innings. Bishop grounded a ball just under King's glove deep in the hole for a  single to begin the game, but Willman picked him off first after several throws over. 

Frerichs reached on a catcher's interference call, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on Beckham's single to left. He in turn advanced to second on the throw trying to catch Frerichs and aggressively scored from there on an infield ground ball out by Nick Braasch.

In the second Blaine Stewart reached on an error and moved over as Chase Hires was hit by a pitch. Stewart, a freshman, scored when Clayton Walch singled to left.

Beckham walked leading off the third, stole second, and scored on a fielder's choice. Because Hillsboro had scored two in the second (back-to-back doubles by Gregg and Nic Ondrey plus an RBI ground out to first by Tanner Mullen) and one in the third (Jace Tuetken walked, stole second, moved to third on a bad throw on the steal attempt, and scored on a Kaden Lemon ground out to first), Litchfield led 4-3 after three.

The Toppers tied it in the fifth after strategizing to keep the disadvantage at one in the top of the inning when Bishop led off with a single, but was forced at second by Frerichs. After Frerichs reached second when a pickoff throw went awry, Beckham received his first intentional walk. That resulted in a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

Frerichs' pitch count (79), not his performance, took him from the mound, and Hillsboro tied the contest when Lemon singled, stole second, and scored when King's grounder was mishandled. Much to Hillsboro's chagrin, Litchfield turned a four pitch leadoff and walk to Frazier into their fifth run in the sixth.

The Toppers tied it again in their sixth when McCammack walked leading off and was wild-pitched to second. Two outs later he scored the lead run when Tuetken blooped a single into right field. That set the stage for the seventh. 

The tournament was in the books by mid-afternoon, six hours before the rain began. Nokomis was first, Hillsboro second, Morrisonville/Lincolnwood third, and Litchfield fourth. Weather permitting, Nokomis resumes play today, Monday, April 15, at Mt. Olive and hosts Williamsville on Tuesday.

The Toppers have a rained-out conference date with Vandalia here today at 4:30 and travel to Pana Tuesday, April 16, at 4:30. Morrisonville/Lincolnwood plays at Mt. Olive on Tuesday while Litchfield may fill a rained-out game at Roxana today and has a conference date to host Carlinville Tuesday.

April 13 at Hillsboro

Montgomery County Tournament

Litchfield 211 001 0 5 5 2

Hillsboro 021 011 1 6 5 3

Pitching Statistics

Litchfield IP R ER H K BB

Frerichs 4 3 3 3 4 3

L-Frazier 3 3 1 2 2 2 

Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB

Willman 6 4 1 4 3 4

W-King 1 0 0 0 1 1

* Willman 1HBP

Batting Statistics

Multiple Hits: None. 2B: Litchfield - Jake Frerichs 1; Hillsboro - Nic Ondrey 1, Jordan Gregg 1.

Records: Litchfield (3-8), Hillsboro (5-4).

April 13 at Hillsboro

Montgomery County Tournament

Championship Game

Nokomis 200 101 1 5 7 0

Hillsboro 000 001 0 1 3 2

Pitching Statistics

Nokomis IP R ER H K BB

W-Sabol 6 1 1 3 7 3

Herpstreith 1 0 0 0 2 1

*Herpstreith 1HBP 

Hillsboro IP R ER H K BB

L-Grosenheider 3 2 2 2 3 5

Anderson 4 3 1 5 2 0 

Batting Statistics

Multiple Hits: Nokomis - Nick Mascher (2-3). 2B: Hillsboro - Kaden Lemon 1. 3B: Nokomis - Alex Tosetti 1.

Records: Nokomis (8-3); Hillsboro (5-5).

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