The Highland Post 439 Senior Legion baseball advanced in the District 22 playoffs by rallying past New Athens 8-2 on Sunday night.
Highland (16-5) used a six-run sixth inning to secure victory. Post 439 is scheduled to host Belleville at 7:30 p.m. Monday, weather permitting. Belleville advanced by defeated Alton 3-1 on Sunday.
Previously, HIghland wrapped up its 2019 regular season with three games last week against Trenton, Alton and Belleville.
On Monday, Post 439 traveled to Trenton and dropped a 6-1 decision.
On Tuesday, Highland hosted Alton at Optimist Field and despite getting six hits off of Alton hurler Adam Stilts, Post 439 fell 2-1.
It was a game that featured a top-shelf pitcher’s duel between Highland’s Jonathan Dickman and Stilts of Alton.
“It was an hour and a half game and it was like the fastest game we’ve played all year,” Highland manager Harry Painter said. “It was in and out, in and out, in and out.”
Dickman had another outstanding night on the bump as he gave up just two runs on only two hits.
“Our pitcher Jonathan Dickman threw a two-hitter, but their pitcher Stilts went the distance and did a great job and so did Jonathan,” Painter said. “So, it was a pitcher’s duel and we came up on the short end (of it).”
The biggest bugaboo for Highland was stranding baserunners. Overall, Highland stranded five runners in scoring position against Post 126.
“We had men on second three times with one out and couldn’t get a hit,” Painter said. “That was our Achilles heel for the whole game. That was it.”
On Friday night, Highland traveled to Belleville and turned in a strong performance against Post 58 in the regular season finale, posting an 8-2 verdict,
Post 439 broke through in the top of the third inning for five runs as four batters walked and two were hit by pitch. Meanwhile, Landon Oestringer, Colten Knebel, and Griffin Frahm all had RBI hits, and Dickman drove in two runs for a 5-0 lead.
“Their pitcher in the third inning fell apart,” Painter said. “He hit two batters, walked four batters and we only had the hit by Oestringer and the two RBI’s by John Dickman.”
In the sixth inning, Highland delivered the knockout, as Jonathan Barnes singled home two runs and Knebel added an RBI. Kolby Frey started and pitched five shutout innings to get the win. Austin Toler finished the game with solid relief work.