Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
Charleston couldn’t keep their come-from-behind mojo going in both games of a doubleheader against Mt. Zion on Saturday.
The Trojans (15-11, 4-6 Apollo) came back from 1-0 and 3-2 deficits to win 6-5 in the first game, while Mt. Zion (15-9, 7-3) got hot at the plate to defeat Charleston 11-1 in the second.
It wasn’t an easy day on the mound for Luke Bonnstetter in the opener. With the wind coming in straight from center field, the righty allowed six walks, but limited the damage to just four runs on six hits with four strikeouts in five innings.
“I couldn’t find my off-speed,” he said. “I was leaving it outside and bouncing it low, so they were just sitting on my fastball. I was trying to mix in my off-speed more, and I couldn’t find it, and kept on walking people.”
He’d make up for it with his bat, though.
Bonnstetter hit a double that enabled him to score moments later, giving the Trojans the go-ahead run, then gave Charleston an insurance run an inning later.
“I was disappointed with how I had been pitching today, so I knew I had to make up for it at the plate,” he said. “ I went up there and saw a fastball, 3-2 count, and turned on it and put down the line. Luckily, I was able to score.”
Right fielder Alex Sellers brought home Bonnstetter after the pitcher had doubled and advanced to third base on a wild pitch.
Sellers waited for a fastball, hitting it the opposite way down the left field line.
“My game plan is just to look for the fastball,” he said. “I was getting a lot of fastballs because I was the (No.) 8-hitter. I just needed one in the zone. I just went up there hungry to hit. I can hit oppo; I can pull the ball. It’s one of those moments where I ‘shoot the hands,’ as they say, and took it down the third base line. It was a real easy swing. It wasn’t hard. It just worked out for us. That’s what you love to see.
“It was a great game,” Bonnstetter said who went 2-3 with an rbi, a run scored, and a walk. “I was on the mound just trying to do what I could do. I got down at some points. There were some big hits. Way to battle back.”
Sellers said the team has been battling back all year.
It’s a great feeling to come back from being down,” he said. “I think we have the mentality that if we’re down we can still fight back. We’ve done it a lot this year. It’s almost like we’re giving up runs, but we’re getting them back easily.”
In the Trojans 11-1 loss in the second game, Josh Sipes brought in the lone Charleston run, singling in Bonnstetter in the bottom of the second. Sipes took the loss giving up six runs on six hits, four walks, and three strikeouts in three innings.
Mt. Zion’s Sammy Driscoll went five innings, giving up one run on four hits on one walk while striking out four. Jackson Beiler drove in three runs, and Drew Hittmeier knocked in two more.
With family present, the home dugout at Baker Field was commemorated in honor of longtime coach Alan Lord prior to the start of the doubleheader. Lord passed away in 2020. His son, Jason, threw out the first pitch to Charleston catcher Jacob Morrisey.