By Chet Piotrowki
St. Anthony’s Colton Fearday scored on a wild pitch by Mattoon’s Logan MacDonald, giving the Bulldogs a 3-2 win in nine innings over the Green Wave at Evergreen Park on Monday afternoon.
McDonald gave up a double to Fearday, landing the Bulldog relief pitcher on second base with one out. Eli Moore them took a ball on a 3-2 pitch, sending him to first with a walk.
“You saw what he did there,” St. Anthony coach Tony Kreke said. “He was able to get a hit. He wants a breaking ball. Colton’s a competitor. In my opinion, he’s one of the best hitters in the conference. I’d put him up against anybody, even with Eli (Moore), too. We have some hitters on our team.”
Fearday stole third on Brody Niebrugge’s swinging strikeout, with Moore advancing to second.
St. Anthony’s Will Hoene, facing MacDonald for the second time, watched the pitch bounce in the dirt and scoot past Mattoon’s Connor Bergstrom, which allowed the decisive run to score.
McDonald, who pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowed three hits, issued five walks and struck out six. Fearday allowed one hit across 3 2/3 innings, striking out eight and walking two batters.
St. Anthony improves to 9-0 and Mattoon falls to 1-6.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people look at win-loss and we’re struggling in that category, but our play has consistently improved,” said Mattoon coach Jarod Kiger said. “We have a bunch of young guys, just now six, seven games into their season, and getting better. We have to improve this week and get ready for our conference game on Saturday against Taylorville.”
The Bulldogs scored first with a solo home run by Moore in the second inning. Mattoon’s Austin Baker then loaded the bases by allowing two singles and issuing a walk midst to outs. The right-hander then walked St. Anthony’s Logan Antrim on five pitches to force in a run and make it 2-0. Baker left the game after allowing two earned runs on three walks and eight strikeouts in five innings.
“When we go to Austin knowing he’s going to give us a great effort, he went through five for us tonight,” Kiger said. “He pitched as good as I’ve seen him in the time I’ve been here. His ability to change speeds, and locations. He bounced back after those two runs in the second. He gave us an opportunity to win and that’s all you can ask of him.”
Mattoon’s Meade Johnson responded with a solo homer run off St. Anthony’s Seth Hotze the following inning to cut the Green Wave’s deficit to 2-1.
“We responded with Meade hitting a home run,” Kiger said. “He came out and got us moving there. We answered there two with that one. The thing with Meade is that he’s our energy guy. When he gets going, we get going. You can hear him until the end of the game. That’s who he is. He’s a great leader for us on the field and the kids feed off of him. We were able to battle through and push that second run in on a hit.”
With two outs and two on for the Green Wave in the top of the sixth, Bulldogs’ third baseman Will Hoene bobbled a sharp hit from Johnson, which allowed him to beat the throw to first and for Cooper Bergstrom to score, making it 2-2.
Kiger said MacDonald was in a similar situation last week, losing to Olney 2-1 in extra innings.
“The thing for him is knowing that he put himself in a situation that we could win the game, Kiger said. “We were talking about starting them off with some things. They were sitting fastball early because they (St. Anthony) are a power-hitting team. He worked a location and missed. He’s the not the first or last guy to do that. For a guy whose given us as many innings out of the bullpen, he gives us an option to win, too. He’ll come back.”
Kreke agreed that that’s baseball.
“That’s the name of the game. I don’t think their catcher had a passed ball all game,” Kreke said. “You take a win any way you can get it. Mattoon’s a good team, a very solid ball club. Today was a really good high school baseball game.”
That’s all we could scratch across,” Kiger said.