It was a strong start to last week for the Nokomis High School baseball team as the Redskins got two stellar pitching performances in games against East Alton-Wood River and Bunker Hill.
On Monday, May 24, Austin Thornton tossed five innings of two-hit ball to earn a 12-1 victory over East Alton-Wood River on the Oilers’ home field.
The Nokomis freshman retired the side in order in the second, third and fourth innings, with the Oilers only two hits leading off the first and fifth innings. The second hit would lead to East Alton-Wood River’s only run of the game, with Tyler Robinson scoring on an error after he doubled to start the inning, but by that point, Nokomis’ lead was already 12 runs.
The Redskins complimented Thornton’s gem with a steady stream of runs as they picked up three each in the first three innings, followed by a solo run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to set up the mercy rule.
Nokomis outhit the Oilers 12-2, with five extra-base hits for the Redskins. Ryan Eisenbarth had two of those as he went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple. Landon Engelman also had two hits, including a triple, and four RBIs, while Benny Clavin was a team-best 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored. Elijah Aumann also had a pair of hits and two runs scored in Nokomis’ fourth win of the season.
In addition to allowing just two hits, Thornton had pretty good control, walking no one and striking out eight on the day.
Benny Clavin was just as good on the mound for the Redskins in their next game, a 5-0 victory over Bunker Hill. Clavin walked one and allowed three hits over seven innings, with nine strikeouts under his belt by game’s end.
With Clavin cruising, the Nokomis offense needed minimal output to hold off the Minutemen. Hunter Broers put Nokomis out in front in the bottom of the second with an RBI single that scored Matthew Ulrici, after Ulrici led off the inning by reaching on an error.
Two more runs came in the fourth inning, with Brenton Lyons and Ryan Eisenbarth starting the inning with singles, followed by a line drive by Broers that found the grass and allowed both runners to score. The Redskins’ even inning output continued in the sixth as Cooper Bertolino singled home Dallas Sneddon and Clavin after the two seniors had been hit by a pitch and reached on an error earlier in the inning.
Up 5-0 going into the seventh, Clavin needed just nine pitches to set the Minutemen down in order and pick up win number five for the Redskins.
Seven Nokomis players had base hits in the win, with Hunter Broers going 2-for-2 with three runs driven in. Cooper Bertolino also had a pair of RBIs for Nokomis, who improved to 5-10 on the year.
The postseason starts Friday, June 4, for the Redskins, who will start the regional on the road against Macon Meridian at 4:30 p.m. - The winner of that game moves on to play for a regional championship on Monday, June 7.
May 24 at Wood River
Nokomis 333 12 12 12 1
EAWR 000 01 1 2 3
Nokomis IP R ER H K BB
Thornton 5 1 0 2 8 0
EAWR IP R ER H K BB
Robinson 2.2 8 5 6 3 3
Moore 1.1 2 2 3 2 1
Gerner 1.0 2 2 3 2 0
*Robinson 1 HBP
Multiple Hits: Nokomis - Benny Clavin 3-4, Elijah Aumann 2-3, Landon Engelman 2-3, Ryan Eisenbarth 2-3. 2B: Nokomis - Benny Clavin 1, Ryan Eisenbarth 1, Brenton Lyons 1; East Alton-Wood River - Robinson 1. 3B: Nokomis - Ryan Eisenbarth 1, Landon Engelman 1. Runs: Nokomis - Benny Clavin 3, Elijah Aumann 2, Ryan Eisenbarth 2, Austin Thornton 2, Landon Engelman 1, Cooper Bertolino 1, Brenton Lyons 1. RBI: Nokomis - Landon Engelman 4, Cooper Bertolino 2, Elijah Aumann 1, Matthew Ulrici 1, Brenton Lyons 1, Ryan Eisenbarth 1, Austin Thornton 1.
May 26 at Nokomis
Bunker Hill 000 000 0 0 3 4
Nokomis 010 202 x 5 8 0
Bunker Hill IP R ER H K BB
Ewin 4 3 2 6 4 2
Softley 2 2 0 2 1 0
*Ewin 1 HBP, Softley 2 HBP
Nokomis IP R ER H K BB
Clavin 7 0 0 3 9 1
Multiple Hits: Nokomis - Hunter Broers 2-2. 2B: Bunker Hill -- Oxford 1. Runs: Nokomis - Benny Clavin 1, Matthew Ulrici 1, Brenton Lyons 1, Ryan Eisenbarth 1, Dallas Sneddon 1. RBI: Nokomis - Hunter Broers 3, Cooper Bertolino 1.
Record: Nokomis (5-10).
A late surge by Father McGivney kept Nokomis from their third straight win on Friday, May 28, as the Griffins scored an 8-3 victory over the Redskins at O’Fallon Sports Park in O’Fallon.
McGivney scored first, getting a run in the top of the second, but Nokomis tied things up in the bottom of the fourth after Benny Clavin led off the inning with a walk, stole second and third and scored on a single by Brenton Lyons.
After four innings of solid work by Nokomis starting pitcher Matthew Ulrici, the Griffins finally got to the sophomore hurler. A triple, two doubles and an error would give McGivney a 4-1 lead and chase Ulrici from the mound, with Hunter Broers coming on to get the last two outs.
McGivney would score two more in the sixth inning after a double by Ryker Keller and a home run by Matthew Gierer, but Nokomis kept their comeback hopes alive with two runs of their own with a single by Clavin, a triple by Lyons and a double by Landon Engelman.
Even after McGivney scored twice in the seventh to take an 8-3 lead, Nokomis still had a chance in their half of the final frame. With one out, Ryan Eisenbarth and Hunter Broers both singled, but a double play ended the Redskins’ hopes and gave McGivney their 23rd win of the season.
Nokomis got two hits each from Lyons and Eisenbarth, who were both 2-for-3 on the day. Ulrici, Broers and Eisenbarth combined for five strikeouts and three walks on the mound for Nokomis, who fell to 5-11 overall and 3-4 in the Prairie State Conference.
Daniel Gierer struck out eight and walked one in a complete game victory for the Griffins, who clinched the Prairie State title with the win. McGivney finished the year 8-1 in the PSC, with their only loss coming against Mt. Olive on May 21 in a nine-inning 2-0 affair.
Nokomis will start the postseason on Friday, June 4, at Macon Meridian, with the winner moving on to play for a regional title on Monday, June 7. The other side of the regional bracket features North Greene at Calhoun on June 2, with the winner playing at Greenfield, the top seed of the subsectional, in the other regional semifinal on June 4.
May 28 at O’Fallon
Fr. McGivney 010 032 2 8 13 0
Nokomis 000 102 0 3 7 2
McGivney IP R ER H K BB
D. Gierer 7 3 3 7 8 1
L’wood IP R ER H K BB
Ulrici 4.1 4 2 9 3 1
Broers 1.2 2 2 2 2 1
Eisenbarth 1.0 2 2 2 0 1
Multiple Hits: McGivney - Daniel Gierer 3-4, Ryker Keller 2-3, Matthew Gierer 2-5; Nokomis - Brenton Lyons 2-3, Ryan Eisenbarth 2-3. 2B: McGivney - Ryker Keller 1, Daniel Gierer 1, Drew Sowerwine 1; Nokomis - Landon Engelman 1. 3B: McGivney - Anthony Callovini 1; Nokomis - Brenton Lyons 1. HR: McGivney - Matthew Gierer 1. Runs: Nokomis - Benny Clavin 2, Brenton Lyons 1. RBI: Nokomis - Brenton Lyons 2, Landon Engelman 1.
Records: Nokomis (5-11, 3-4); Father McGivney (23-6, 8-1).