By Mike Monahan
Sophomore Jarrett Muchow hurled a two-hit shutout to help Mattoon earn a baseball doubleheader split with Taylorville, 4-0, on Saturday.
The Green Wave had committed four errors and struggled to get a key hit with runners in the first game, a 10-4 loss.
Muchow threw 85 pitches in the victory, the second shutout for the Green Wave this season.
“It was a pretty good win since we couldn’t get the first one,” said Muchow. “My fastball inside corner outside corner and curveball was working pretty well and the defense did their job.”
Mattoon is 7-10 overall and 4-4 in the conference, fourth in the Apollo.
Mattoon got on board in the first inning when Kaiden Rice led off with a walk, went to third on an error ns scored on a single by Zach Wetzel.
In the second, Logan MacDonald singled to right, stole second and scored on a ground out by Perry to make it 2-0.
Meanwhile the Taylorville offense was stymied by Muchow, who allowed just a two-out single to center by Kamrem Heimsness in the first.
The Tornadoes also had a runner on in the second on an error. After the one-out error, Muchow retired seven straight until an infield single by Jadon Mathon, who was later erased when leadoff batter Stickel reached on a fielder’s choice.
Muchow helped himself in the fifth inning by singling on the first pitch to left.
“It was a curveball,” said Muchow, who also doubled in the second inning on a knuckleball. “I hit what they gave me. Getting the 4-0 lead helped me go out there with confidence and I just let them hit the ball and knew the defense would do their job.”
Jackson Spurgeon came in as a courtesy runner and stole second, and scored on a two-out single to center by Cayden Knierim. Wetzel then drove him in with a double to left.
Muchow, who threw 52 pitched for strikes, struck out two and walked one.
“I was proud of the team for their response in the second game,” said Kiger. “We had great pitching. He (Muchow) has been solid for us the last two outings and he is just a sophomore he is only going to get better. He has good command. The one thing that he does better than some pitchers is he knows when to step back and maintain that composure. If they get a hit he knows it is not the end of the world for him. He has a real short memory and as a pitcher that is what has to happen. He gave up a hit early and locked back in.”
Muchow has allowed one earned run in 20 innings, for a paltry earned run average of 0.35.
“Hopefully, he will keep growing and maturing,” said Kiger. “ He is a great kid and a great team guy. He has pitched well at the younger level and we had kind of watched him. In the offseason we were looking at him as a middle relief guy. We were not certain he was a starter or not. He has had some great success in his last two outings.”
Kiger said they would like to play a mid-week game just to break up the gap of no games.
“We have to come back and take care of some of the things we didn’t do well in the first game as we get into the end of the season and ready for regionals,” said Kiger. “Our schedule is a little bit of a buzz saw back to back with Centennial and Mahomet, but we have our one (Helms) and two (Muchow) who are both throwing well right now. We just have to limit our mistakes behind them and start pushing across runs in big situations.”
Game 1: Taylorville 10, Mattoon 4
Mattoon started off well in the opener, on a two-run double in the first by Wetzel.
However, Taylorville, who snapped an 11-game conference losing streak, struck for four runs in the third.
Mattoon got one run back in its half of the third when Cooper Bergstrom’s sacrifice fly to left scored Kenierim, who started the inning with a single to right.
The Tornadoes scored two in the fifth and blew the game open with four unearned runs in the sixth.
“I told the kids after the game I am frustrated because I think our team’s expectations are to eliminate those things and if a team beats it is because they are a better baseball team. At the end of the game, they beat us 10-4 on the scoreboard and that is the only thing that matters.”
Mattoon left nine runners on, including seven in scoring position and hit into three double plays (in fifth, sixth and seventh innings).
“Some of the things we have fallen short in this year are the things we did in the first game; bad errors and not being able to score guys that are in scoring position,” said Kiger.
Luke Perry, the no. 9 hitter was perfect in two at-bats, while Knierim was 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored.
MHS Pitching: Jack Helms (3-2) 5 innings, 8 hits, 8 runs, 5 earned, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts; Kaiden Rice 2 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 0 earned, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
MHS Hitting: Rice 1-for-4; Blaine Powers run, stolen base; Cayden Knieriem 2 for-3, double, 3 runs scored; Zach Wetzel 1-for-3, triple; Logan MacDonald 1-for-3, RBI; Cooper Bergstrom 1-for-3, sacrifice, RBI; Luke Perry 2-for-2 stolen base
MHS pitching: Jarrett Muchow (2-0) 7 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
MHS hitting: Rice run; Knierim 1-for-3, run, RBI; Wetzel 2-for-3, double, RBI; Kaden Junge 1-for-3, stolen base; MacDonald 2-for-2 run scored, stolen base; Bergstrom stolen base; Muchow 2-for-2 double, Jackson Spurgeon run