Hawks silence Lancers

Special to the News-DemocratApril 17, 2013 

— Gibault High School juniors Zach Neff and Austin Beccue combined on a two-hit shutout in the Hawks' 4-0 victory over Belleville East on Wednesday.

Neff threw the first two innings for Gibault, while Beccue handled the next five to finish the game.

The Lancers only hit came in the bottom of the fourth inning, when East junior Parker Hendricks hit a fly ball to center that dropped in for a hit.

"Zach Neff is our number one," Gibault coach Andrew Skaer said. "I didn't want to throw him deep in the ballgame. I wanted to have him available for this weekend. Between him and Austin, they did a great job.

"I think we walked two guys all day. We hit a batter. We did a nice job attacking the zone and let our defense do the work behind us. And our defense did the job behind us. They had that one flare base hit, but we can't ask any more out of your pitchers than that."

Gibault scored two runs in the second inning, which turned out to be the only runs it would need.

With the bases loaded, sophomore Chandler Purcell hit a groundball that East kept in the infield, but was deep enough to allow junior Chase Dugan to easily score from third and freshman Jordan McFarland, who was running hard, to beat the throw home for a second run.

The Hawks added single runs in the next two innings.

In the third, junior Auggie Ward singled to left field to score junior Wes Degener from third. Senior Matt Schreder grounded into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded in the fourth, chasing in the game's fourth and final run.

"I thought we had a lot of really good at-bats," Skaer said. "I think we had 14 or 15 base runners. Some of those walks were guys with some real nice at-bats, taking some swings and fouling off two-strike pitches.

"We hit the ball hard. I thought our hitters had a nice approach at the plate."

East had five baserunners in the game. Two on walks, one on a hit by pitch, one on an error and one on Hendricks' base hit. Only one of those baserunners advanced to second base.

"Their guys hit the strike zone quite a bit," Belleville East coach Todd Blomberg said. "They set up their pitches real well. I just don't think we have a lot of confidence right now. We're on a three game losing streak.

"Things aren't much fun right now. Guys are second guessing themselves. We have a little bit of a crisis in confidence, and it's hurting our guys. We're not doing a very good of forgetting what happened last time and coming out and having a whole new approach the next time. We've got to get better.

"They outplayed us in every phase. Their pitchers were better than our pitchers. Their defense was better than our defense. They ran the bases better. They coached better. Their hitters were better. Today the better team won. They were better than us. No doubt."

"Belleville East is one of the best teams in the area," said Skaer, whose team improved to 12-4. "Big school, small school, it doesn't matter every year. Having a chance to beat them and a Southwestern Conference team in general is a nice win for our ball club."

The loss dropped East's record to 9-6.

"Baseball is funny like that," Blomberg said. "You can go out and get beat and look pretty bad one day, and then the next day come out and look like all-stars. A week ago we were sitting pretty. Everything was great. We beat the number one team in the area. We beat Belleville West.

"You've got to come out new every day in baseball. You got to improve on what you're doing wrong, and keep doing the things you're doing well. That's what we need to come do. We need to come out with good attitudes and a little more confidence, but we'll be fine."

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