Tyler Hosto’s approach to pitching to the Belleville East Lancers Thursday was to stay ahead on the count, keep the ball low, and have a short memory.
The Tigers had just suffered their first shutout in 80 games at the hands of O’Fallon Tuesday. Instead of dwelling on the shock of what’s behind, however, Hosto paid it forward by blanking East on three hits Thursday.
The senior left-hander struck out eight in six innings to lead Edwardsville to a 4-0 win.
“We had five errors in that game, so obviously that wasn’t good,” Hosto said. “But we feel like we just have to move on from the past. You just have to move on, come to the yard every day to play your best, and play every pitch as it comes. We did that today.”
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Hosto improved to 6-0 with his eighth start of the season and lowered his earned-run average to 1.73.
The victory leaves Edwardsville head coach Tim Funkhouser just one shy of career No. 600. A win versus Jerseyville Saturday would make him, at age 44, just the 27th coach in Illinois history to reach that threshold.
He gave Hosto the credit for getting him that much closer to the career milestone.
“He was exceptional and he’s been throwing really good for us all year,” Funkhouser said. “I just like his competitive nature and his mastery of his game and the way he controls the tempo on the mound. He’s really gained a lot of confidence over the years with his hard work and his ability to handle missing a pitch. He can miss a pitch and come back. Nothing is compounded with him.”
Belleville East also got a solid performance out of starter Cody Freppon, who was undone by a three-run fourth.
“I thought Cody pitched really well,” said East coach Ryan Wiggs. “He was ahead of most of their hitters, which is what we asked him to do and we made a couple of mistakes behind him and gave up some runs that maybe he shouldn’t have.”
Edwardsville, the No. 2 seed in the Bloomginton sub-sectional, improved to 25-5 with the win. East, the fifth seed, fell to 20-10.
Junior Daniel Reed broke the scoreless tie in the third inning with a pinch-hit home run. Then Joel Quirin came through with a two-out, two-run double to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
“That was a great at-bat for Daniel. It was a good spark because Freepon is good,” Funkhouser said. “Everytime I’ve seen him throw he’s good and he’s another guy that commands the game and is very mature. Daniel was able to get one out of the yard, then Joel had that big hit with two out.”
Quirin drove home the fourth run of the game in the fifth with his second hit of the day.
“I was out a couple of games with a hurt wrist and coming back, I’ve been swinging the bat a lot better,” said the junior, who finished 2-for-2 with three RBIs. “I was just trying to find the right pitch and put the best swing on it I could.”
East put two on with none out in the fourth inning and got another runner on in the sixth with one out. Both innings ended with double plays started by Quirin.
Thursday’s game was scheduled to be played at East, but the week’s rain forced it to Edwardsville and its field turf junior varisty diamond.
“Trufully, we haven’t had a lot of double play balls,” Funkhouser said. “It helps on the turf because it’s a little crisper and you get a truer hop. But I thought Joel did a great job getting those (double plays) started.”
Andrew Yancik threw a perfect seventh inning to close the win for Edwardsville. Cole Cimarolli had two hits and scored two runs; Jake Garella had two hits and scored once; and Quirin included a walk with his two hits and three RBIs.
East got two hits from Patrick Gaul, and one from Isaiah King.