Senior Jake Heck looks for his pitch during the Hornets 7-4 win over Pinckneyville. Heck would homer in the conference clinching game over DuQuoin.
By Brent Huelsmann
With their win over DuQuoin on April 24, the Nashville Hornets boys baseball team clinched the Southern Illinois River to River Conference: Mississippi Division. The Hornets clinched with an 8-1 record in conference play. Nashville’s only conference loss came to Carterville on April 18.
Nashville’s only conference loss of the season, saw a pitchers duel. The lone run of the game, was an unearned run scored by Carterville in the sixth inning, to give the Lions a 1-0 victory.
Neither team could get anything going offensively as the both teams combined for five hits in the game. Carterville finished with three hits, and Nashville finished with two hits.
Nashville got a hit apiece from Ryan Brink and Austin Anderson in the loss. Jake Heck reached base with a walk.
On the mound, Austin Anderson pitched all six innings for the Hornets, and gave up just one unearned run. Anderson finished with four strikeouts.
After the game, Hornets coach Chad Malawy was happy with Anderson’s performance. “Austin Anderson was awesome on the mound again, I think he only struck out four or five, but he was ahead in the count and very efficient. He threw well enough to beat just about anybody in the state again, and unfortunately for us we just didn’t handle the ball when it mattered at the end of the game, and we just didn’t get the big hit when it mattered. You have to tip your hat to Carterville, they played a good, clean game and they got the W.”
The Hornets got back on the winning track as they traveled to take on Anna-Jonesboro on April 19. The game was supposed to be played on April 3, but was postponed due to weather. Each team scored in the first, but the Hornets were able to pull away in the middle innings for a 10-3 victory.
After both teams scored in the first inning, the Hornets pulled away with four runs in the third, and three runs in the fourth to take an 8-1 lead. It was all Brink needed on the mound, as Brink went six and two thirds innings, gave up three runs, two of which were earned, and struck out ten batters. Hayden Heggemeier got the final out of the game.
At the plate, Nashville cranked out 12 hits, three of which came from Heggemeier at the top of the lineup. Heggemeier also scored three runs in the win. Brogan Kemp finished with two hits and two RBIs in the win, while both Brink and Cameron Parker notched a hit, drove in two, and scored a run for the Hornets. Trevor Meier, Jacob Woodrome, and Andrew Kash each got a hit for Nashville in the game.
Coach Malawy was happy with the overall play of the Hornets after the game. “We took care of business in all parts of the game. Brink was great on the mound, defense was solid, Kash played a great shortstop, and we banged the ball all day in the gaps.”
The Hornets clinched at least a share of the conference crown with a 7-4 victory over Pinckneyville on April 20. Nashville took an early 1-0 lead, but Pinckneyville was able to take a 2-1 lead in the third. The Panthers would not keep the lead long, as they Hornets scored the next six runs of the ball game. Nashville scored two in the third, three in the fourth, and one in the fifth to take a 7-2 lead. Pinckneyville would score two in the sixth, but would not score again as the Hornets held on for a 7-4 victory.
On the mound, Kemp went five plus innings for Nashville. Kemp gave up just two hits, but walked four batters, that led to four earned runs. Kemp struck out eight batters, and got the win on the mound. Woodrome got the final six outs of the game, gave up one hit, and struck out one batter.
Again Coach Malawy was happy with the effort on the mound, but cautioned about the free bases the Hornets are giving up. “Brogan Kemp was very good on the mound again, and Woodrome did a great job of coming in and shutting the door and throwing strikes for us. Again the Hornets nemesis, free bases. If you don’t give away free bases, teams can’t score runs, they just can’t in high school baseball. We can hit with some of the teams, so if we can cut down on that stuff, hopefully we can be a salty team down the stretch.”
Offensively, the Hornets were led by Brink who finished the game 2-3 with three RBIs, a walk, and two runs scored. Bauza finished the game 1-2 with two walks, and two runs scored. Kash went 1-3 for Nashville, scored a run, and drove in one run. Meier and Anderson each finished with a hit and a RBI in the win, while Kemp and Woodrome each got a hit for the Hornets.
A huge sixth inning gave the Wooden Shoes of Teutopolis a 12-2. A close game going into the bottom of the sixth, the Wooden Shoes rattled off eight runs to take the victory over Nashville. The Hornets did not help themselves in the field, as they committed six errors in the loss.
Teutopolis took an early lead in the contest as they took a 3-0 lead after the second inning. The Hornets got a run back in the third, but Teutopolis answered right back with a run of their own.
Nashville cut the Teutopolis lead to 4-2 in the fifth, but the Wooden Shoes put the game away in the sixth with eight runs, to win the game 12-2.
Woodrome gave up 10 runs in the game, but only four of which were earned. Woodrome last five innings for the Hornets, walked three batters, and struck out four. Nick Paskiewicz pitched the rest of the game and gave up two unearned runs in the game.
At the plate, the Hornets managed just two hits. Heggemeier finished the game 1-2 with a run scored, a RBI and a walk. Cameron Parker also went 1-2 with a run scored. Bauza reached twice via the walk in the loss.
Nashville clinched the SIRR Mississippi Division outright with a dominating 11-0 win over DuQuoin on April 24. The Hornets pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts in the win, and only gave up two hits.
A pitchers duel throughout, the Hornets got a run in the first to take the lead. The score would stay 1-0 until the sixth, when Nashville added a run.
The Hornets bats would come alive in the seventh. Nine runs crossed the plate in the inning, and the Hornets were able to cruise to an 11-0 win.
Coach Malawy talked about winning conference. “Conference champions is our first team goal each year. Happy for this team to continue the tradition “
Anderson pitched the first six innings for Nashville. Anderson gave up just two hits, walked three, and struck out nine batters. Heggemeier would come in and pitch the seventh, and struck out the side to clinch the shutout, and the conference.
At the plate, the Hornets were led by Brink. Brink finished the game 3-3 with three runs scored. Nashville got two home runs in the contest. Both Kemp and Heck hit home runs in the win. Kemp finished 1-3 with his only hit being the home run. Kemp finished with four RBIs, a and a walk. Heck finished the game 2-4 with a RBI in the win. Cameron Parker did not record a hit, but drove in two runs, and scored a run in the game. Both Meier and Anderson finished with a hit and a RBI. Bauza and Chase Coffel each recorded a hit in the win, while Bryce Bultman, Carson Parker, and Paskiewicz each scored a run for the Hornets.