The Hornets won the IHSA Class 2A Benton Sectional with a 11-2 win over the Carterville Lions. Back Row: Rylim Brehm, Coach Matt Meinhert, Kelton Harre, Jacob Woodrome, Dale Anderson, Cameron Parker, Carson Parker, Bryce Bultman, Todd Jahnke, Nick Paszkiewicz, Coach Steve Kozuszek, and Coach Chad Malawy. Front Row: Cody Bauza, Cade Krueger, Jake Heck, Andrew Kash, Hayden Heggemeier, Trevor Meier, Ryan Brink, Tyler Jahnke, Cole Pedtke, Austin Anderson and Brogan Kemp.
After defeating Carmi-White County and Carterville to win the IHSA Class 2A Benton Sectional this past week, the Hornets season came to a screeching halt in heartbreaking fashion with a loss to Teutopolis in the Super-Sectionals. Nashville finished the season with a record of 30-7.
After winning the Red Bud Regional, the Hornets met up against a familiar playoff foe in Carmi-White County on Wednesday May 24. The Hornets defeated Carmi-White County in the Sectional Semi-Finals in 2015, and lost to the Bulldogs in the Sectional Semi-Finals in 2016. In the rubber match, the Hornets got a great start from Ryan Brink and went on for a 7-1 victory.
In the first, the Hornets had to play from behind as Carmi-White County jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. The lead would not last for the Bulldogs as the Hornets quickly tied the game in the bottom half of the inning. Ryan Brink reached base with two outs, and would score on a RBI single by Trevor Meier to tie the game.
The Hornets would quickly grab the lead in the bottom of the second as Cameron Parker would double to lead off the inning, and would score on a single by Carson Parker.
In the third, the Hornets would add to their lead, as Hayden Heggemeier would single, Cody Bauza would walk, and Meier would be hit by a pitch to load the bases for Brogan Kemp. Kemp would hit a long sacrifice fly to give the Hornets a 3-1 advantage.
The score would stay the same until Nashville broke the game open in the sixth inning. The Hornets would again load the bases with one out, and Heggemeier would come through with a two RBI double scoring Cameron and Carson Parker. Andrew Kash, who reached base via a hit by pitch, would come around to score on a wild pitch to make the score 6-1. Bauza would drive in the final run for Nashville with a sacrifice fly.
In the seventh, Carmi-White County went down in order, and the Hornets avenged their playoff loss from last season.
After the game Hornets Coach Chad Malawy talked about bouncing back after falling behind. “That was huge in the win after they scored first, that’s what good team’s do they answer back. I think that kind of changed the morale, kept the heads up and we knew we had a fighting chance.”
On the mound, Ryan Brink got his tenth win of the season, only the seventh player in school history to reach that total in a single season. Brink went five strong innings, and only gave up one run. Brink walked five batters, but got out of trouble with six strikeouts. Jacob Woodrome got the save, as he pitched the final two innings of the game. Woodrome did not allow a hit, and struck out two batters.
Malawy also talked about his started on the mound. “It starts on the mound, Ryan Brink wasn’t his sharpest, didn’t have his best stuff, but he showed what he is inside, he showed he’s a fierce competitor. He won that game without his best stuff, because he is a competitor.”
At the plate, the Hornets were led by Heggemeier. Heggemeier finished the game 2-3 with two RBIs, a walk, and a run scored. Carson Parker drove in a run on one hit, had one walk, and scored a run in the win. Meier drove in a run with a double in the win, while both Kemp and Bauza each finished with a RBI for the Hornets. Cameron Parker scored two runs for Nashville and reached base three times, one hit and two walks. Brink and Kash each scored for Nashville.
The win over the Bulldogs, coupled with Carterville’s win over Harrisburg, set up the third match up between the Hornets and the Lions, where Nashville looked to avenge their only conference loss of the season.
In what would be a rematch of a pitcher’s duel earlier in the year, the Hornets jumped all over Carterville’s Kaleb Vaughn on their way to a 11-2 victory. Austin Anderson was on the mound for Nashville and delivered another gem to pick up the win.
The Hornets got the scoring started early, as Bauza took Vaughn deep in the top of the first to give Nashville an early 1-0 lead. The two pitchers would trade zeroes in the second and third, before Nashville broke the game open in the fourth.
The Hornets would plate five runs in the inning to take a 6-0 lead. Kemp singled to start the rally to lead off the inning, and the Hornets would quickly have the bases loaded with nobody out. Cameron Parker was hit by a pitch, in the head, following Kemp’s single, and Carson Parker would single to load the bases. Jake Heck would come through with a sacrifice fly to extend the Hornets lead to 2-0, and Kash would reach on an error to score Cameron Parker to tack on another run. A RBI single from Heggemeier scored another for Nashville, and Bauza continued his hot run at the plate with a two RBI double to make it 6-0.
After Carterville grabbed two runs in the bottom of the fifth, to cut the deficit to four, the Hornets put to bed any thoughts of a comeback with three runs in the sixth. All three runs came off the bat of Kemp, as he crushed a three run home run to extend the Hornets lead to 9-2.
Nashville would go on to add two runs in the seventh, as Bauza hit a RBI double, but got thrown out going to third, and Meier hit a RBI single to give the Hornets an 11-2 lead.
In the seventh, the Hornets cruised to an 11-2 win.
After the game, Carterville’s coach Bobby Jackson praised the Hornets. “We didn’t lose the game, Nashville is very good. They beat us.”
Amidst the celebration, Hornets coach Malway talked about facing Vaughn again. “We were hungry we prepared really hard for him, and the kids worked really hard at practice. We tried to work at on hitting some velocity getting ready for this game, and I think our hitters had a nice approach to him, and we were able to string together a bunch of hits. Vaughn is a great pitcher, an exceptional pitcher, who is going to pitch at the next level. You don’t get wins over pitchers like that every day, so we’ll take it.”
On the mound, Anderson went the distance, got the win, and got mauled by his teammates on the mound after the final out was recorded. Anderson gave up two runs on five hits, walked one and struck out four.
Anderson was very efficient in the win, throwing just 88 pitches. After the game, he talked about wanting to face Carterville and Vaughn again. “I wanted it bad. When we stayed here to watch the game with Harrisburg and them, I wanted them to win so we can play them. I wanted it bad.”
At the plate the Hornets were led by Bauza, who just missed out on the cycle. Bauza hit a homer in the first, doubled in the fourth, singled in the sixth, and got thrown out at third in the seventh on a RBI double. Bauza finished with four hits, four RBIs, and a run scored in the game. After the game, Bauza talked about his performance in the postseason. “Glad I can finally come through for the team. Better late than never. I know I struggled a bit over the regular season but I’m glad I turned it on for the postseason.”
Kemp finished with two hits in the win, the big hit being the three-run home run. Cameron Parker added three hits in the win, and scored a run for Nashville. Both Brink and Heggemeier finished with two hits, and two runs scored. Kash, Meier and Carson Parker each recorded a hit for Nashville as the busted out 16 hits in the ballgame. Heck drove in a run for the Hornets.
After the highs of winning the sectional title with a win over Carterville, the Hornets season came to an end in crushing fashion with a 4-3 loss to Teutopolis at GCS Ballpark in the Super-Sectional.
Nashville got off to a quick start in the game, as Heggemeier walked to open the ballgame, and Bauza crushed a ground rule double. Brink would then crush a home run just inside the foul pole in left field to give the Hornets a 3-0 lead.
The Hornets would hold the momentum until the third inning when a downpour stalled the game. The game was delayed with two outs in the top of the third for over a half hour due to heavy rain and lightning. After the game resumed the Hornets would go quietly in the top of the third, and Teutopolis would cut into Nashville’s lead in the bottom of the inning.
After Teutopolis got a triple from Carson Hartke to lead off the inning, Nashville got a huge first out as Hartke was gunned down at the plate by Cameron Parker for the first out of the inning. After Brink struck out Cody Jansen for the second out of the frame, Eric Kremer came through with a RBI double to give Teutopolis their first run of the game. After a walk, Brant Bueker came through with a RBI single to cut it to a one run game. Brink would get a pop out to end the threat.
After the Hornets went quietly in the fourth, Teutopolis would tie the game in the bottom half of the inning. Dylan Bloemer would reach on an error and after a hit by pitch, Jansen would come through with a RBI single. After a walk to Kremer loaded the bases, Heggemeier made a diving catch that could have unloaded the bases to keep the game tied, to end the frame. After the game Coach Malawy talked about the catch. “Probably the greatest high school catch I’ve ever seen.”.
The game would stay tied until the bottom of the sixth inning. The Wooden Shoes were able to take advantage of miscues by the Hornets to push a run across the plate. The Hornets were able to get out of the inning without further damage, but trailed 4-3 needing a comeback in the top of the seventh.
In the seventh, Carson Parker singled to open the frame, stole second, but was thrown out at third for the first out, on a bunt from Kelton Harre. With one out, Kash laid down another bunt, and Harre made a heads up move at second base, and was able to slide safely into third to put the tying run 90 feet away with two outs. The Hornets could not get the run across as Teutopolis took the game 4-3.
Brink started the game for the Hornets and went four innings, giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on three hits, two walks and six strikeouts. Brink hit three batters in the game. Kemp pitched the final two innings for the Hornets. Kemp gave up one unearned run, on one hit and struck out two batters. Kemp hit one batter.
At the plate Nashville was led by Brink who finished 3-3 with three RBIs and a run Scored. Heggemeier finished with one hit and scored a run for the Hotners. Bauza and Carson Parker each recorded a hit for the Hornets. Harre scored a run for the Hornets in the loss.
After the game, Malawy reflected on the seniors. “We have eleven seniors and we started seven today. I love these guys. I love them with all my heart like they are my sons. This group of seniors we won 118 games in the program. I don’t know a small school near our size that wins that many games year in and year out. I think we have a great program and today wasn’t our day.”
Malawy went on to talk about the game. “I think we ended with five errors defensively that ultimately was the dagger for the day. We played up at there place early in the year on a very bad weather day and made seven errors and let the game get out of control. This game we just didn’t handle the ball. T-Town is such a good team that if you give them extra outs, free bases, they’re going to win. They’re going to pick up those runs and win the game. They’re an excellent team and I wish them the best.”
The Hornets finished the season with a 30-7 record.