On Senior Night at Belleville West with most of his family in attendance, Maroons senior right-hander Cal Kossina made Thursday a little more memorable by throwing a perfect game.
Kossina’s first career perfect game featured five innings without allowing a hit or a walk and striking out five as the Maroons pounded Granite City 11-0 in a Southwestern Conference baseball win.
“I’m still processing it, but it’s just a great feeling,” said Kossina, a Southwestern Illinois College recruit who improved to 5-2. “Not many kids, can say that they’ve done that. It was nice to be able to be in that situation at that time.”
Kossina said all of his grandparents were in attendance along with his parents. Brother Tony Kossina is an assistant coach for the Maroons.
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“It was nice to do it in front of all of them,” said Kossina, who had never thrown a no-hitter previously. “The closest I came was a regional game last year against Granite City when I threw a one-hitter.”
West outfielder Austin Guetterman hauled in a line drive in right center with two outs in the fifth inning to preserve the perfect game.
“It made me hold my breath for a minute,” Kossina said. “Right off the bat I was like ‘Man, that was hit pretty well,’ but he ran it down and made a good play on it.”
Tai Kezirian was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs for the Maroons (20-7), who travel to O’Fallon for another SWC game at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Bellevilel West’s Nick Oglesby was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Jack Lanxon was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Dupo 1, Gillespie 0
Drake Harvell shut down Gillespie with a five-hit shutout that included 10 strikeouts as the Dupo Tigers advanced to the Class 2A Gillespie Regional championship. Harvell also was 2-for-3 at the plate.
A two-out double by Collin Roth and RBI single by Austin Francis in the third inning gave Dupo its only run. The Tigers (17-8) will play Southwestern in the title game at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“Francis hit a bullet into left and that got us on the board,” said Dupo coach Brad Daubach, whose team beat Gillespie 13-11 on May 4 at GCS Ballpark in Sauget. “We kind of cruised from there.”
Gillespie’s best scoring chance came in the first with runners on second and third and one out. With the infield in, Dupo shortstop Brandon Roth made a diving play in the hole at short and threw to first for the out. Harvell struck out the next hitter to escape the jam.
Central 8, Greenville 3
Central fell behind 3-0 early against the Greenville Comets, but had more than enough offense at its disposal to take a ride to the championship game of the Class 2A Effingham St. Anthony Regional.
Central will have Jack Strieker on the mound when it faces Teutopolis at 10 a.m. Saturday for the regional title. Teutopolis beat Central 15-5 earlier this season, which provide more than enough motivation for the Cougars.
Greenville broke on top with three runs in the top of the second against Central starter Dylan Wilson. The Cougars came right back with a two-run single by Kolby Schulte, who was 3-for-4 with two doubles, in the third.
Central added three more runs in the fifth and two in the sixth, with Wilson pitching well and Mitchel Rule closing out the win with a scoreless seventh inning.
Austin Rakers was 2-for-3 for Central and Brent Timmons was 1-for-4 with a two-run single.