Charleston shortstop William Applegate said hitting was a lot easier in the second game of a baseball doubleheader at Mahomet on Saturday.
Although calling the game easy would be a misnomer – the Trojans lost a 10-run lead into the fourth inning and had to stave off a seventh-inning rally that came down to a play at the plate.
Applegate, a junior, blasted a home run and drove in six runs in Charleston’s 16-15 second-game victory. Teammate Aidan Archibald drilled two home runs and a double to drive in another four while the Trojans compiled 19 hits overall – 17 more than the team had managed against Purdue commit Blake Wolter in the opener, an 11-1 run-rule defeat.
“Last game, we faced a kid throwing low 90s,” Applegate said, ”so this just made it a lot easier after seeing that.”
In the second game, Charleston’s Collin Patterson hit a double just over second base that bent to right center by the strong winds coming from left field. That hit drove in the game’s first runs and gave the third baseman a team-leading 12 RBIs for the season. Applegate would tie him by the end of the game.
That same wind, Trojans coach Daniel Bennett said, “played havoc on our outfield.”
Charleston (6-2, 3-2 in Apollo) would commit five errors, three on the final three plays of the game, which almost cost the team were it not for a head’s up throw to the plate that nailed the potential tying run for the final out of the game.
Applegate led off the top of the third with a single to right field, stole second and scored off a single from Conner Woodley, who was on base with Patterson when Archibald hit his first homer over the fence in right to highlight a seven-inning outburst that put CHS ahead 9-0.
Archibald hit his second homer in the fourth to make it 10-0.
The sophomore said his approach at the plate was “just looking for a fastball to go the other way with.”
Mahomet (9-3, 5-1) scored five runs in the fourth inning, which started with a long ball from the Bulldog’s Mateo Casilias.
Charleston scored three in the fifth inning before Patterson took an early jump trying to tag from third on a fly out for the third out of the inning.
Mahomet scored six in the fifth thanks to a few errors during a day game riddled with them on both sides. On one play at home, the ball got away from the CHS catcher and two Bulldogs scored, while a base runner advanced to third.
Applegate increased the run count by two in the sixth inning with a right-field blast, putting the Trojans ahead 15-11.
Archibald drove in the final run for Charleston on a double that scored Jeb Vanatta, who had reached base after Mahomet’s shortstop couldn’t get a clean scoop of a ground ball. The Trojans’ seventh-inning run would be enough to get the win 16-15, even after a bottom seventh that seemed like the Bulldogs scored all four runs with two outs, ending with a tag out at the plate.
The Trojans weren’t complaining about taking one-of-two in the doubleheader against a team that is atop the Apollo Conference standings.
“That’s a good team,” Applegate said. “That was a big one, for sure.”
“It’s nice to come out of here with the win because that’s probably one of the better teams we’re gonna play all year long,” Bennett said. “That’s a nice baseball team, so I can see them going pretty far in the postseason. So, it’s nice to come out of here with one.”
Wolters did his part to beat Charleston in the opener, hitting a homer and double in a 10-run rule shortened game, and said it wasn’t his best day, giving credit to his teammates on defense.
“Couldn’t find the zone for a little bit, but we battled through. Got the win,” Blake said. “Defense played a great game. Alex McHale at second base, ate up a bunch of balls.”
“That was probably his worst outing of the year,’ Mahomet-Seymour coach Nic DiFilippo said, “and he still shut down a very good offensive team. There’s no questions. So it was good. I mean, our defense was there. They put the ball in play. It seemed to be right at us and we made plays.”