By Tim Taylor

It’s not often that one witnesses an inside-the-park home run.

Fans of the CMS Trojans enjoyed seeing not only an inside-the-parker but one that was a grand slam in the bottom of the second on Saturday afternoon.

With the bases loaded, Chase King hammered a majestic fly ball over the centerfielder’s head that rolled to the fence, and he sped home to cap a six-run inning that enabled Charleston Middle to cruise to a 10-3 victory over Mattoon Middle in an IESA Class 3A Region 11 semifinal.

In the regional championship Monday, the Trojans take on No. 1 seeded Tolono Unity, an 8-2 winner over Effingham.

In this Battle of Coles County, King had a tremendous performance – driving in six runs and striking out six across six innings on the mound for the win. King went 2-for-3 overall, stole two bases and scored another. Teammate Ty Helton collected three hits, scored three runs and drove in two others.

In the top of the third, the Wildcats mounted one of its few offensive threats. Isaiah Warrington started the inning with a bunt single. He stole second and eventually advanced to third. With two outs in the inning, Mat Miller lined to left field to bring home Warrington.

In the bottom of third, the Trojans got that run back – and a couple more. Brady Collins walked to start the inning, and he advanced to second on a wild pitch. Quinn Taylor reached on error at shortstop and stole second. Russ Applegate then walked to load the bases and eventually came home on a wild pitch.

Leadoff hitter Helton single to left field to bring in Collins. Rohen Walters came up next but grounded out to shortstop Derek Sharp, who smartly threw home to record an out on Taylor. King came up and hit a grounder, and an error plated Helton. Pitcher Mat Miller got out of the inning after Alex Matheny hit a sharp liner to Sharp, who then threw to third to double off Walters.

Charleston’s Ty Helton fires a pitch to a Mattoon batter in the seventh inning. (Photo/Chet Piotrowski)

The MMS offense showed more signs of life in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Logan Ethington cranked a shot over the left fielder’s head and cruised into second with a double. Brendan Prince singled to left to move Ethington to third. Lincoln Hayes singled to center to bring home Ethington. Jackson Horst came up next and singled to center to score Prince, but Applegate threw out Horst advancing to second for the third out.

Ty Helton came in and closed the game by inducing a fly out to left, and then inducing a batter to ground to shortstop for a double play.

The following are noteworthy performances by players on both teams:

  • CMS’s Rohen Walters went 2 for 4, scored 1 run, and had 1 RBI
  • CMS’s Russ Applegate went 2 for 3 and scored 2 runs
  • MMS’s Logan Ethington went 2 for 3 and scored 1 run
  • MMS’s Lincoln Hayes went 2 for 3 and had 1 RBI
  • MMS’s Mat Miller went 1 for 3 and had 1 RBI
  • MMS’s Jackson Horst went 1 for 3 and had 1 RBI

Mattoon end its season with a 9-4-1 record.