The Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm’s 5-4 win over St. Charles Community College on Friday provided another milestone for longtime head coach Neil Fiala.
Now in his 30th season as a head baseball coach at several levels, Fiala has 1,200 career wins, including 844 in his 24 years at SWIC.
“It means I’ve been around for a long time,” Fiala said of the milestone. “I’ve been very fortunate to have managed many great teams and outstanding players.”
Inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2015, Fiala also spent three years as the manager of the River City Rascals of the Frontier League, a year with the Fairview Heights Mets and several seasons as a coach in the Summer Collegiate Baseball League.
The Blue Storm (2-3) rallied for the win. After tying the game with a run in the fifth, SWIC pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
Former Mater Dei standout Brady Rakers led off with a single and Dylan McEwen and Derrick Rozycke reached on bunt singles to load the bases. Keith Sanders then singled in the winning run.
Red-shirt freshman Dan Milas, of Mascoutah, also played a part in the win. Milas struck out 11 in five innings before former Waterloo ace Corey Vogel pitched a scoreless seventh inning to pick up the win.
SWIC is back in action at 1 p.m. Tuesday when it plays host to St. Louis Community College in a doubleheader.