Prep Baseball & Softball

Mascoutah turning heads with fast start

The Mascoutah Indians are turning heads with a 9-1 win over Belleville East preceded by three straight shutouts over Carlyle (16-0), Metro-East Lutheran (14-0) and Centralia (18-0).

The Indians have outscored their opponents 57-1 — the lowest batting average on the team is .300 — and their pitchers have been extremely sharp as well.

Alton (8-0), Gibault (6-0), Central (5-0), Edwardsville (4-0), Waterloo (4-0) and Highland (2-0) also are among the early unbeatens.

“One through nine they were fighting every single at-bat,” Wiggs said. “They were putting good at-bats together and putting pressure on our defense. They looked good.”

Mascoutah coach Don Eddy is taking more of a cautiously optimistic approach despite the blazing start.

“We’ve only played four games,” he said. “Our goal is to get better every day.”

Eddy and his coaching staff can’t have many complaints to this point, but they keep pushing the players at practice and reminding them there is plenty of work ahead.

“We’ve got six or seven guys back that got quite a few at-bats and have the experience,” said Eddy, whose team was 15-18-1 last season. “We weren’t as successful last year as we’d have liked to be, but they did get some good experience. We’ve got a group of seniors that are hopefully going to lead us.”

Among that group are Jordan Kraljev, third baseman Michael Chaffin, Austin Wombacher and first baseman-pitcher Noah Blakely.

Chaffin, a Benedictine University recruit, is hitting a ridiculous .875 (7-for-8) with six singles, a double, one RBI and five runs scored.

Jacob Davis is at .625 (5-for-8) with eight runs scored, sophomore catcher Sam Scott is hitting .400 with six RBIs, Anthony Moll is at .417 and Blakely is at .375 with seven RBIs. Scott started most of last season as a freshman.

Kraljev, the third brother in his family to play for Mascoutah, is the returning pitching ace. In 10 innings of work, he is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 10 strikeouts.

The mound staff includes Blakely, Logan Bibb, Moll, Davis and Chaffin.

“We’re off to a nice start, but we keep telling them we’ve got a lot of season ahead of us,” Eddy said. “We want to have a nice season, not just a nice start.”