With the Edwardsville Post 199 Bears set to open the Fifth Division Tournament at Glik Park in Highland on Monday at noon against District 25 champion Steeleville, coach Ken Schaake talked to his team about not overlooking anybody and being out ready to play from the outset.
“I told them that you can’t afford to overlook anybody because they got here by winning something, so you have to take everybody seriously,” Schaake said. “I told them that we have to come out ready to play at 12 o’clock, as opposed to maybe sleeping through two or three innings.”
His team received the message loud and clear as the Bears pounded out 12 hits and scored early and often while getting a strong start from Kade Burns en route to mauling Steeleville 11-0 in six innings.
“(Burns) was on to start with and we scored three runs in the first two innings,” Schaake said. “That says a lot about the team and then they just kept tacking on as we went on. Then I pushed it three or four times where in a normal game I might not have, but we were already up by five or six and were just trying to get to 10 as quick as possible to save our pitchers and save our guys some energy in the heat.”
The Bears (32-7) advance to face Aviston at noon on Tuesday. The teams split two meetings earlier this season. Aviston, which received a bye on Monday, won 5-4 in nine innings on its home field on June 7 while Post 199 won 5-4 in seven innings during the Firecracker Tournament on July 1 in Fairview Heights.
Burns blanked Steeleville for the first four innings. He scattered five hits and walked just one.
Highland 5, Carmi 0
Highland pitcher Dillon Hallemann threw a complete-game four-hit shutout and the offense sent 11 hitters to the plate and scored five runs in the fifth inning in a 5-0 win to close out the first day.
“Normally, I try to pace myself to pitch the whole game and this time it kind of worked out right,” said Hallemann, who walked just one and hit one. “I just felt good as the game went on and my arm was feeling good the whole time. And for the most part everything was working for me, and that really helped me get through batters quicker and kept my pitch count down.”
The fifth inning outburst was highlighted by six consecutive hitters reaching base safely, including four RBI singles in a row from Jimmie Smith, Jordan Smith, Hallemann and Sam Greene.