As Joliet Catholic learned the hard way Saturday, keeping Edwardsville leadoff man Dylan Burris off the basepaths is imperative for teams hoping to beat the Tigers.
Burris had two doubles and two stolen bases and scored three runs to back the Tigers’ strong pitching in a 6-2 victory over the Hilltoppers as part of the Prep Baseball Report Metro-East Kickoff Classic.
“The game really slows down for him at the plate,” Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser said of Burris, a Wabash Valley College recruit who is 4-for-7 through two games with four doubles, four runs scored and three RBIs. “I like the way he approaches the game, he plays at full throttle.
“He’s like a full-court press because he’s always putting pressure on the defense with the way he plays. What a great way to start off a game with him.”
Burris, who hit .448 as a junior last spring with a .543 on-base percentage, enjoys the challenge of hitting in the leadoff spot.
“Its been my job for the past three years and I’ve just taken on that role. You’ve got to get the job done and get the team off to a good start. I’ve accepted that.”
Joliet Catholic (0-3) was held without a hit by Edwardsville starter Andrew Yancik and reliever Issac Garrett until Garrett allowed a bloop single to Jack Naal leading off the seventh inning.
Yancik (1-0) tossed four hitless innings and struck out three, while Garrett allowed one hit and one run in two innings.
Joliet Catholic pushed across two runs in the seventh on a throwing error and Greg Ziegler’s RBI single off reliever Chase Gockel, but reliever Reid Hendrickson came on to get the final two outs.
“Andrew Yancik’s really been throwing the ball well,” Funkhouser said. “He was good and I think he’ll even be better as the year goes on. Isaac Garrett’s just a pitch-maker, he’s fun to play defense behind because you’re going to get some plays.
“I thought Reid did a great job of closing, it was a good scenario for him to get in there. He was outstanding.”
Yancik felt comfortable in his first start.
“It was great,” he said. “I went out there and was feeling my stuff, letting the defense play out. Everything just worked out the way I wanted it to.”
The Tigers (2-0) got a run in the firs on Joel Quirin’s RBI single, then added three more in the second on back-to-back doubles by Burris and Kade Burns. Burns’ hit was a two-run blow and made it 4-0.
Daniel Reed and Quirin also had RBI singles, with Yancik hitting a one-out triple before scoring in the third.
Joliet Catholic stranded eight runners and lost for the third straight time at the Kickoff Classic.
After homering in his first varsity game Friday, Edwardsville freshman Drake Westcott was 0-for-3 Saturday in the cleanup spot. Not many freshman crack the varsity, let alone the starting lineup, for the Tigers.
“We had a couple guys that pitched for us and I think (Jake) Garella batted for a us a few times as a freshman and played some right field,” Funkhouser said. “Drake’s had good-at-bats. I like the way he’s going about his business.”