An infield single by Shane Ganz scored Brendan Killion with the winning run in the eighth inning Wednesday as the Okawville Rockets reached their first baseball sectional game since 1992 with a 2-1 victory over Carollton.
The Rockets (14-17) beat Carrollton in the semifinals of the Class 1A Carlinville Sectional, being played at Blackburn College. Okawville, which has won five straight, will face either Morrisonville or Mulberry Grove in the sectional title game at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Killion was masterful on the mound, holding Carrollton to six hits while striking out 11 with no walks. He was coming off back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs against Lebanon and New Athens.
“He’s caught fire here lately, but he’s got seven wins on the year,” Okawville coach Jackie Smith said. “Down the stretch he’s been our ace.”
Killion singled to left, stole second base and advanced to third on a passed ball. He scored when Ganz bounced a grounder over the head of the pitcher that was fielded by the shortstop, with Ganz beating out the throw to first.
Okawville also got a solo home run from sophomore right fielder Noland Crane leading off the fifth inning that put the Rockets on top 2-1.
“It was into the wind, he just drove it out,” Okawville coach Jackie Smith said. “He got a first-pitch fastball and just drilled it.”
Carrollton (19-9-1) tied it 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth on an Okawville throwing error.
Ganz was 3-for-3 with an RBI for the Rockets.
Class 2A Teutopolis Softball Sectional
Central 6, Tuscola 3: In her first season as Central’s varsity softball coach, Gigi Kohrmann has the Cougars (19-14) in the sectional final following a semifinal win Wednesday over Tuscola. Central’s only other sectional title in school history came in 2006.
Central takes on Fairfield for the sectional championship at 4:30 Friday in Teutopolis.
“This is my first time out and it can be stressful and it can be fun, but you’ve got to be on your toes,” said Kohrmann, who did spent time previously as a softball assistant. “I just love coaching, it’s always been in me and I love being around kids. I’m just glad I got this opportunity with Central and it kind of came at the right time.”
Down 3-0 early, Central battled back to tie the score at 3-3. In the fourth, Central’s Jess Eilers had a leadoff triple and scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball before the Cougars added two more runs and held on from there.
Central’s Abby Ratermann was 2-for-2 with an RBI, Olivia Wesselmann was 2-for-3 with an RBI, Eiler was 2-for-3 and Kaylee Schrand and Mackenzie Ratermann each drove in runs. Schrand also got the pitching win, scattering six hits.
“We put some bunts down on got some people on base,” Kohrmann said. “We had people that got some big hits for us and moved the girls around. The girls did a lot of things right today.”