By Chet Piotrowski
Charleston senior pitcher Josh Sipes was stellar again.
The right-hander was dominant in the second game of an Apollo Conference doubleheader Saturday, pitching six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts to lead the Trojans past Mahomet-Seymour, 6-5, and earn a split at Baker Field.
Sipes had previously pitched strong in a no-decision on April 3 against Mattoon, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out two, and again on the backend of the doubleheader on April 8, going the full seven innings allowing three hits and chalking up three strikeouts in an 8-0 win versus Lincoln.
“Saturdays are conference games,” he said. “They’re must-wins. I just come to play every day.”
The Trojans are now 3-3 in the conference, 9-5 overall. Mahomet is now 13-3, 3-3.
Sipes credits his teammates with his success.
“Just like the last game,” Sipes said. “They put the ball in play and I’ve got a great defense behind me.”
That Trojan defense lived up to Sipes’s word.
Bulldogs centerfield, Carter Selk, drilled a ball to left center field. Caden Pruett called off James Hess. Hess called off Pruett. The two collided and went down in a heap. Hess looked up at his left fielder who held his glove in the air signaling he caught the ball.
The play set the tone the rest of the game.
Sipes, who is 2-1 with a no-decision, said his winter regimen of throwing bullpen sessions has helped a great deal.
“It’s been an easy shift from going to the bullpens to the mound,” he said.
Charleston scored three times in the first and fourth innings to go ahead 6-0 before Mahomet-Seymour responded with runs in the fifth and sixth, and three in the seventh.
In the first game, Charleston lost 8-3 to the Bulldogs, who featured Arizona commit Blake Wolters, whose fastball was clocked in the 90s and had a gaggle of scouts observing him. Wolters pitched six innings, allowing three runs on one hit with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Will Applegate took the loss for the Trojans after allowing five runs, two earned, on three hits with a walk and strikeout in an inning.
“That fastball is really good,” Applegate said. “That slider is what will get you. You can’t tell it’s a slider until its on you. He’s a great pitcher.”
Sipes said coaches had dialed up the pitching machine to the mid-90s to prepare for Wolters.
“We came in as prepared as possible,” he said.
Charleston will face Teutopolis, St. Anthony and North Clay this week.
“We’re going to need all of our pitching for this week.”