By Mike Monahan
Lake Land baseball dropped the opener game to John Logan, 10-0, of a three-game series in the NJCAA Division I, Region 24 tournament in Carterville on Friday.
The Lakers had won a season best six straight starting with the second game of a doubleheader April 23 against Southwestern Illinois College through a doubleheader sweep on May 1 against Frontier College. Since then, Lake Land (25-29) has lost four of its last five.
The Lakers, coached by Julio Godinez, finished 14-15 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference, good for seventh place out of 11 teams.
The Lake Land offense was held to just five hits Friday, including a triple by Keegan Garis. Other hits were by John Sweeney, Brody Macak, Jude Sullivan and Ty Coartney, a 2021 Charleston grad.
Carter Sabol suffered the loss, falling to 2-5.
John A. Logan (39-14), winners of five straight, scored one in the first and second innings, three in the fourth and five in the seventh of the nine inning game.
Lake Land has to win Saturday at 9:30 a.m. to force a third and final game in the best out of three. The Lakers beat Logan 3-2 on March 10, but lost 5-3 and 14-10 on March 13.
Logan finished in second place in the GRAC at 24-7.
Leading the Lakers in batting average is sophomore Ryan Kiolbossa at .364. Brian Bello is at .353 and Garis is third at .337. Belo has a team-high seven home runs, while the leading RBI player is Garis with 37. Garis has a team-leading 14 doubles and three triples while Jacob Walker has a team-high 11 steals.
Lake Land is 10th in the nation in sacrifice hits with 29, including seven by Kiolbossa.
Besides Courtney, two other local players are on the roster – Mattoon alum Austin Baker, left-handed pitcher, and outfielder Gavin Gonzalez.
Coartney has played in the most games of those three with 32. Coartney is 22 of 89 (.247) at the plate with four doubles, two home runs and 14 RBIs. Defensively, he has a .960 fielding percentage.
Lake Land has a .289 batting average as a team and averages six runs per game, while allowing 6.9 runs per game. The Lakers are 4-6 in games decided by one ru.