Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski
Charleston ran into one of the area’s hottest hitting teams in St. Anthony Wednesday.
Every Bulldogs player had at least one hit, led by second baseman and leadoff hitter Eli Levitt, as the Bulldogs defeated the Trojans 11-4 at Paul Smith Field in Effingham on Wednesday afternoon.
Trojans starter Kyler Sweeney allowed seven runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings, striking out three, for the loss.
“Kyler Sweeney pitched a heckuva game,” Charleston coach Daniel Bennett said. “We needed someone to go deep and step up and he did that for us. He gave us a chance, but we didn’t have it at the end.”
Colton Fearday struck out seven, allowed five hits and three runs over six innings for St. Anthony (11-2).
Charleston (2-9) scored first when Collin Patterson doubled to drive in William Applegate.
“We went up there aggressive and put the ball in play,” Bennett said. “That’s a nice a ball team. They have a nice group of kids there.”
St. Anthony responded with two of its own in the bottom of the inning.
Charleston regained the lead in the second inning. A wild pitch brought home Caydin Reed, who had walked earlier. Applegate then singled in Jeb Vanatta to make it 3-2. Vanatta had singled and advanced to second on a second wild pitch by Fearday.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good in the bottom of the third, scoring twice with two outs.
In the fifth inning, St. Anthony scored three more runs even though Trojans catcher Jacob Morrisey made a spectacular diving catch on a Brody Niebrugge pop-up behind home plate for the second out.
St. Anthony put four more on the scoreboard in the sixth, followed by a home run by Charleston’s Patterson to cap the scoring at 11-4. The CHS third baseman took a fastball from relief pitcher Brock Fearday, the younger sibling of St. Anthony’s starter, and sent it on a flyer over the left-field fence for the game’s only home run in the top of the seventh.
“They’re (his players) not going to quit,” Bennett said. “That’s a good hit for Patty there, getting on a roll. They’re not going to give up. That’s what is great about this group is that they’ll battle until the end.”
Applegate and Patterson went 2-3. The shortstop also took a Colton Fearday curveball off his back for a hit pitch in the fifth.
“Charleston’s a good team,” St. Anthony coach Tony Kreke said. “They have a lot of hitters and start seven seniors. They have some experience there. We knew they could put the bat on the ball and square things up.”
While his starter wasn’t sharp, Kreke said he was pleased that Fearday worked out of his jams.
“Colton tried some different things,” he said. “He worked backwards in some counts, and maybe he got sped up at some times. We tell our pitchers it’s okay to give up hits. There’s nothing bad about hits. We just have to limit the freebies. A hit by pitch and walks isn’t like Colton. He was able to work at it. He was able to fight through it and give us a solid five.”