Columbia makes it eight in a row with victory over Dupo

News-DemocratApril 29, 2014 

— One big inning was all it took Monday for the Columbia Eagles to assume control.

The high-flying Eagles won their eighth in a row, beating Dupo 10-0 in five innings thanks in large part to a six-run second that saw 10 batters come to the plate.

"We just keep battling," said Columbia coach Keith Jany, whose team improved to 14-4. "We've had some guys out for various reasons, disciplinary issues and some injuries here and there, but guys just keep stepping up.

"It's not fancy all the time, kind of like today wasn't real fancy, but they just keep finding a way to get it done. We keep the train rolling."

Columbia catcher K.J. Spisak helped drive the offense with a pair of two-run singles, one in the second and another in the fourth. He's up to 15 RBIs this season while hitting .385.

"I think he was trying to do a little too much on a couple of his swings, pulling off a little bit," Jany said. "But when he stayed on those two ... those were two good at-bats and two real good swings."

Columbia ace Josh Fleming (6-1) pushed his streak of consecutive innings without an earned run to 29 Monday with two more scoreless frames.

Fleming struck out three in his two innings of work, allowing only a single to Dupo's Joey Mirabal.

Columbia's Cole Foster finished up on the mound, tossing the final three innings on an afternoon that began sunny, then got dark and windy with a lot of rain before finishing up with sun again.

Columbia had all kinds of offensive support thanks to Spisak, Brendan Fauss (2-for-2 with an RBI), Jacob Hill (2-for-3 with an RBI) and Brett Luther (1-for-1 with an RBI).

"It's not just offensively with guys in the lineup, it's defensively and guys on the mound," Jany said. "It's somebody different every day. Either somebody's getting a big hit for us, somebody's making a play, somebody steps up on the mound and does a good job for us.

"It's a good team effort every time we go out and that's what we want to continue."

Dupo starter Brett Aldridge, headed to Millikin University on a football scholarship, got into trouble in the second after a leadoff walk to Camren Shewfelt.

Hill followed Patrick McDermott's single with an RBI single to center and Fleming drove in a run with a fielder's choice grounder. Two more walks and another fielder's choice preceded a bases-loaded, two-run single by Spisak that made it 5-0.

"Three hits, three walks, a couple fielder's choices, threw it around a little bit ... you do that to Columbia and come out not ready to play and that's what's going to happen -- six runs," Dupo coach Brad Daubach said. "We just weren't ready."

Aldridge was 3-1 with a 4.40 ERA before Monday.

"He's been up and down," Daubach said. "He's got good stuff and I tried to tell him that before this game. When he threw strikes, he did well."

Daubach has developed a scrappy squad and the 8-10 Tigers have developed a competitive reputation.

"Every other game we've been in," Daubach said. "We've been in it against Carlyle, Belleville East early, Granite City we had beat in the seventh. This is the first time we laid an egg."

Columbia remains in first place in the Cahokia Conference's Mississippi Division with a 5-1 league mark, just ahead of Freeburg (4-2) and Wesclin (4-2).

The Eagles have Red Bud at home Tuesday, then travel to Freeburg for their second meeting with the Midgets this season. Columbia won the first game 2-1.

"We've got a little bit of an advantage being 5-1 right now, but with how our conference goes one game doesn't really give you an advantage," Jany said.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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