Junior Hornets Advance To State
NMS Baseball Team Defeats Breese 7-2 In Regional Championship Game
ABOVE, The Nashville Jr. Hornets baseball team defeated Breese 7-2 in the Regional Championship game to advance to State. FRONT ROW, Jake Hofstetter, Bryson McCleary, Blaine Emrick, Trey Reinburg, Talan Robinson, JT Malawy, Carson Cook, Brady Stein. BACK ROW, Coach Bryan Tebbe, Garrett Williamson, Quintin Laquasto, Radyn Schwartzkopf, Aaron Brink, Bennett, Briles, Ian Blazier, Kolten Gajewski, Nolan Heggemeier, Michael Combs, Kaden Gajewski, Aiden Heiman, Lucas Knepp, Coach Mark Hostert, Coach Pat Heseman.
By Brent Huelsmann
The Nashville Jr. Hornets baseball team is headed to state after winning their Regional 7-2 over Breese. The Hornets finished the regular season with a record of 18-3 before moving into the postseason. The Jr. Hornets will play Smithton in the Quarterfinals Saturday September 30 in Pinckneyville to begin their quest for a state title. The Jr. Hornets current record is 20-3.
On September 11, the Jr. Hornets dominated the action against Chester on their way to an 11-2 win. Nashville got the early advantage, as they scored two in the top of the first after Nolan Heggemeier singled, and courtesy runner JT Malawy stole second and scored on a block. Then with two outs in the inning, Michael Combs doubled and scored on a single by Kolten Gajewski. The Jr. Hornets added two more in the fifth when Heggemeier singled, and Ian Blazier followed it up with a double. One run scored on a sacrifice fly by combs, and another run scored after no one covered home on a pop up caught by the catch. Nashville’s bats came alive as scored seven runs in the sixth. Blaine Emrick, Trey Reinburg, Heggemeier, Blazier, Combs and Gajewski all had hits in the inning. Chester scored their lone two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Radyn Schwartzkopf pitched five innings, and did not all any hits or any runs to get the win. Schwartzkopf finished with four walks and six strikeouts. Carson Cook, and Emrick each pitched an inning of relief. Heggemeier finished with four hits. Blazier and Combs each had two hits, while Kolten Gajewski and Emrick had two hits apiece.
On September 12, Nashville defeated Sparta 13-2 in just five innings of play. Nashville scored two in the first after Reinburg led off with a single and later scored on a two-run home run by Blazier. The Jr. Hornets scored three more in the second on singles by Cook, Emrick, Heggemeier, and Blazier. Sparta scored their lone two runs of the game in the bottom of the second, but Nashville came back with five runs in the third to put Sparta away. Kolten and Kaden Gajewski each had a single to lead off the inning. Runs scored on a Sparta error, a groundout by Emrick and hits from Heggemeier and Blazier. Nashville added two more runs in the fourth after Cook reached on an error and later scored on a wild pitch, and Emrick walked and scored on a single by Heggemeier. The Jr. Hornets made it 13-2 in the fifth, when Combs led off with a single, and scored on a groundout by Cook.
Heggemeier and Blazier each had three hits in the win, and Reinburg finished with two hits. Bennett Briles was the winning pitcher, as he allowed two runs in three innings. Combs and Reinburg each pitched an inning in relief.
On September 13, the Jr. Hornets defeated Murphysboro 6-5 in extra innings. Nashville got on the board first after Heggemeier singled and Combs drove him in, in the first inning. The Jr. Hornets added another run in the second when Lucas Knepp led off with a single and later scored on a RBI single by Heggemeier. Murphysboro took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the third, but Nashville came back to tie the score at three in the sixth, when Knepp and Schwartzkopf led off with singles, and Knepp later scored on a sacrifice fly by Reinburg. In the seventh Nashville took a 4-3 lead when Ian Blazier walked, stole second and later scored on a groundout by Kolten Gajewski. After Murphy tied in the bottom of the seventh, Nashville would score two in the eighth after Schwartzkopf walked and scored on a RBI double by Heggemeier, and Reinburg walked and scored on a sacrifice fly by Blazier. Tense moments in the bottom of the eighth as Murphysboro loaded the bases with nobody out, but only one run scored after Schwartzkopf came in in relief to preserve the win.
Heggemeier finished with three hits, while both Kaden Gajewski and Knepp finished with two hits. Emrick was the winning pitcher in the game.
The Jr. Hornets suffered a rare loss as they fell to Trico 10-9 in eight innings on September 14. Trico took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first, but Nashville came back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning on RBIs by Kolten Gajewski and Knepp. Nashville took a 6-3 lead in the second when Reinburg and Heggemeier singled, Blazier doubled in a run, Combs singled in a run, and Kolten Gajewski drove in two runs with a single. Trico took a 9-6 lead after they scored two in the third and four in the fourth. Nashville would make the score 9-8 in the bottom of the fourth after Kolten Gajewski singled, Kaden Gajewski doubled and both scored on a single by Knepp. The Jr. Hornets tied the game at nine in the fifth when Reinburg singled and later scored on a double by Blazier. Trico took a 10-9 lead in the eighth. In the bottom of the eighth, Nashville loaded the bases but could not score.
Kolten Gajewski and Reinburg each had four hits, while Blazier and Heggemeier each had three hits. Knepp finished with two hits.
The Jr. Hornets got back to their winning ways with an 11-5 win over Murphysboro on September 18. Nashville scored four in the first to take an early lead, after Kolten Gajewski drove in two with a double, and Knepp drove in another with a RBI. After Murphysboro scored one in the top of the second, the Jr. Hornets came back with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Murphysboro added a run in the third, but Nashville came back with two more in the fourth. Both teams added runs in the fifth, and Murphysboro scored the final two runs of the game in the seventh to make the score 11-5.
Blazier was a perfect 4-4 on the day, while Schwartzkopf added two hits. Blazier was also the winning pitcher on the mound. Combs, Heggemeier, Schwartzkopf, and Emrick all pitched in the win.
Nashville closed out the regular season with a 706 win at DuQuoin. Nashville took the lead in the first as Blazier singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Combs. Nashville added two runs in the third to take a 3-0 lead, but DuQuoin would come back to score all of their runs in the fifth to take the lead. Nashville came back with four runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead back for good. The big hit of the inning was a two run single by Blazier.
Blazier had three hits, and both Knepp and Aaron Brink had two hits. Reinburg was the winning pitcher, while Brink pitched the final two innings in the win.
Nashville began Regional play with a 10-0 win over Lebanon in just five innings. Nashville scored five in the first, one in the third, and two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Kolten Gajewski and Knepp eah had three hits. Combs pitched the complete game, and only gave up one hit, while striking out ten batters.
Nashville got a return trip to State with a 7-2 win over Breese in the Regional Championship game on September 25. The Jr. Hornets took the early lead in the bottom of the first when Heggemeier walked, and courtesy runner Emrick stole second and scored on a RBI single by Blazier. Nashville made the score 4-0 in the third, and scored three more in the fourth. Breese scored their lone runs in the top of the seventh.
Combs was the winning pitcher, as he went five innings, and gave up just one hit. Reinburg pitched the final two innings in the win.