Strong pitching, timely hitting spark Kahoks past Maroons

News-DemocratApril 29, 2014 

— Many times in a scoreless game, it takes a timely spark to get things rolling.

Collinsville's Mitch Reising plugged the gap with an RBI double in the fifth inning to break up the double shutout Tuesday and the Kahoks rode the one-hit, nine-strikeout pitching of Tanner Houck to a 7-0 Southwestern Conference win over Belleville West.

Ryan Hoffman added a two-run single in the fifth to give Houck and the Kahoks (12-7 overall, 5-3 in the SWC) more than enough offense to beat West (9-10, 3-5).

"Us coming out hitting in the fifth inning was just awesome," said Houck (3-3), a hard-throwing 6-foot-5 right-hander who signed with Missouri but is also being watched closely by major league scouts. "Giving us three runs in that inning was a big boost. Mitch Reising came up with that double in the gap and that was a great hit by him."

The only hit Houck allowed was a leadoff double in the third inning to Brendan Saak. Saak was thrown out at the plate trying to score from third on a ball that got away from the catcher.

Houck and West ace Parker Beine (4-3) matched scoreless innings until the fifth. Houck allowed only one hit while Beine surrendered only two through the first four innings.

West's biggest threat came in the second inning after Jacob Wilson walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Zach Skaer smoked a ball to deep center field, but Collinsville's Aaron Peskar tracked the drive down, left his feet and made a sensational diving catch near the fence.

"I was pretty impressed," Kahoks coach Pete Trapp said. "He did a great job tracking it and staying on it the whole way. He did everything right ... it was one of the greatest high school catches I've ever seen."

Peskar's fielding gem definitely got Meyer's attention as well.

"I thought really the play of the game was their center fielder making just a heck of a catch over his head," Meyer said. "He timed it perfect. He made a great catch and literally took the wind out of our sails at that point.

"We're playing for one run, and one run might win against somebody like that with Parker and (Houck) on the mound."

Instead, Collinsville broke through for three runs in the fifth and four more in the sixth.

Daniel Franke had an RBI single in the sixth and Dylan McEwen added a two-run single.

Houck has 60 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings.

"Houck only had walk and he came out there and just pumped in strikes," Meyer said. "Parker did fine, it was a heck of a game for five innings. I thought at the end he got a couple pitches up and they took advantage of that and got a couple hits.

"When you get three down to a pitcher like Houck it's hard to play for a big inning."

Houck has pitched in some tough luck this season, but was dominant Tuesday.

"I threw the slider a lot and the curve ball was working real well," he said. "They're both lights out pitches when they're on."

Trapp thought Peskar's play helped create momentum for the late-inning rally.

"When you don't make that play, different things could happen," Trapp said. "He makes a great play and it fires us up, gets our guys moving a little bit. It's amazing how sports work like that, little things are rewarded for other things.

"We beat a pretty good pitcher today. The fact that we were able to get through and score seven on them, I feel very happy. Hopefully it can carry over to Thursday."

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

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