John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Okaw Valley (17-5) won their 9th straight ball game on Saturday as they swept Villa Grove, 5-3 and 3-2, after leveling Mt. Pulaski on Friday, 17-6.
“Our doubleheader sweep at Heritage Villa Grove on Saturday sealed at least a tie for the conference championship,” said Okaw coach Andrew Hagerman. “We are 17-5 overall, finishing 11-1 in conference play.”
The Timberwolves exploded out of the gate, scoring 12 runs against Mt. Pulaski in the 1st inning.
Colton Sroka drew a lead-off walk and Joe Jeffers singled. Peyton Hagerman singled both runners across, 2-0. Still with no outs, Devon Still singled Hagerman in. Drew Fruchtl walked and Ian Tiarks reached on an error.
After an out, Connor Cloyd singled, scoring Still and Fruchtl, 5-0. With two outs, Sroka batted around and this time he doubled Tiarks across. Jeffers came up again and smashed a 3-run homer, 9-0.
Hagerman, Still, Fruchtl and Tiarks hit four consecutive singles with two outs, 11-0. Dylan Park reached on an error and Fruchtl scored to cap the 12-run 1st.
With two outs, a walk and an error set the table for Mt. Pulaski. A double made it 12-2. Both teams held serve until the 4th.
With two quick outs in the Okaw 4th, Justin Johnson walked and Sroka reached on an error, leaving the door open. Johnson scored and Jeffers singled, scoring Sroka, 14-2.
Hagerman, Still, Fruchtl and Alex Martin had four straight singles, again, making it 17-2. Okaw scored five more runs with two outs.
The Hilltoppers, likewise started with two outs in their 4th, but scored. A single, and a walk set up a 2-run double, 17-4. Okaw phoned it in in the 5th with the 10-run rule in play.
Mt. Pulaski tried to extend the game, but fell short in the 6th. A 1-out single and a 2-out walk and two singles were followed by an error, making it 17-6. Jeffers then squeezed a fly out in center and pulled the plug on Mt. P.
Okaw Valley 17, Mt. Pulaski 6
Okaw (12)00 50--17-17-2
Mt. P 200 22--6-8-4
Okaw stats: Sroka 2-for-4, 2B, BB, SB, ROE, 3 runs, RBI; Jeffers 3-for-5, HR, SB, 3 runs, 4 RBIs; Hagerman 3-for-4, SB, 3 runs, 2 RBIs; Still 3-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs; Fruchtl 3-for-3, BB, SB, 2 runs, RBI; Tiarks 1-for-3, ROE, run; Martin 1-for-1, RBI; Park 0-for-3, ROE, BB; Cloyd 1-for-4, run, 2 RBIs; Johnson 0-for-1, 2 BBs, SB, run; Miller 0-for-1. Pitching (W) Sroka 5 IP, 6 runs (4 ER), 8 hits, 6 BB, 6 Ks.
Mt. P stats: Collier 3-for-4, 2B, run, 2 RBIs; Luczaj 0-for-2, 2 BBs, 2 ROEs, 2 runs; Lowery 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBIs; Amidon 0-for-2, BB, run; Collier 1-for-3, 2 RBIs; Huff 1-for-2, BB, run; Parkopanski 0-for-2; Griesham 0-for-1, BB; Davis BB, run; Stewart 0-for-2; Drake 1-for-1. Pitching (L) Huff 4 IP, 17 runs (4 ER), 17 hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks; Collier 1 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 BB, 1 K.
Peyton Hagerman threw a 1-hitter, walking just one, hitting a batter and striking out nine. The one hit was a triple.
Villa Grove drew first blood in the 2nd. A lead-off triple by Lemmon eventually got him home via ground out.
Okaw got on the board in the 3rd. Colton Sroka led off with a single and Jeffers reached on an error. After a fly out, Sroka stole home, but Jeffers was out stealing 2nd, 1-1.
Villa Grove reclaimed their lead in the 4th. An error, a walk, and a hit batter set the stage with no outs. Another error allowed two runs to score. A ground out, a Hagerman strike out, and gunning down a runner trying to steal home got Okaw out of the jam down just 3-1.
Both teams held serve until the bottom of the 6th, when Okaw rallied for the win. Hagerman and Still reached on an error. Drew Fruchtle single scoring both runners, tying the score, 3-3.
Tiarks singled and Cloyd launched a sacrifice fly scoring Fruchtl for the lead, 4-3. On a fielding error Justin Johnson got to 3rd with one out. Tanner Coleman lifted a sacrifice fly and Johnson tagged and scored, 5-3.
VGH was all of a sudden behind, facing their last at bat. Hagerman rang up the first batter. Fruchtl threw out the 2nd batter and Hagerman rang up the next batter for the win.
Okaw Valley 5, Villa Grove/Heritage 3
VG/H 010 200 0--3-1-5
Okaw 001 004 x--5-5-3
Okaw stats: Sroka 2-for-3, 2 SBs, run; Jeffers 0-for-2, HBP, 2 ROEs, SB; Hagerman 0-for-3, ROE, run; Still 0-for-3, ROE, run; Fruchtl 2-for-3, run, 2 RBIs; Tiarks 1-for-2, BB; Johnson run; Cloyd 0-for-2, sacf, RBI; Martin 0-for-2; Coleman sac, RBI; Park 0-for-3. Pitching (W) Hagerman 7 IP, 3 runs (1 ER), 1 hit, 1 BB, 9 Ks.
VGH stats: James 0-for-3; Robertson 0-for-3, ROE; Price 0-for-3, ROE, run; Eversole 0-for-2, BB, run; Ch Lemmon 1-for-2, 3B, HBP, ROE, run; Reifsteck 0-for-3, ROE; Co Lemmon 0-for-3; Charles 0-for-2. Pitching (L) 6 IP, 5 runs (0 ER), 5 hits, 1 BB, 4 Ks.
Games 2 was a pitching duel. Both starters allowed five hits. Devon Still walked no one, while striking out 12 batters. Bean walked two and struck out eight. Reifsteck had two relief innings for VGH allowing just one hit, no walks, and a strikeout.
Okaw got on board first. Sroka drew a lead-off walk, but was picked off. With two outs, Hagerman singled and stole 2nd. Still singled and drove in Hagerman, 1-0. Still rang up the first three batters he faced. He struck out two more in the 2nd.
In the 3rd, Sroka and Jeffers had back-to-back singles. With one out, Still hit a sacrifice and Sroka scored. Jeffers also was able to score and put Okaw up 3-0. Still KO’d two more in the 3rd and had a no-hitter intact.
In the bottom of the 5th Still gave up a hit, but rang up two more batters as he maintained the shutout. Sroka led off the 5th with a triple, but languished on 3rd.
He tried to score on a fly out from Hagerman, but he was thrown out. Still KO’d two more in the 5th and one in the 6th. Still entered the bottom of the 7th with 12 strikeouts and holding on to the 3-0 shutout.
However, the first batter singled and the second batter belted a 2-run homer. It suddenly was a 1-run game with no outs. The next batter singled for the third hit in a row.
Still threw out the next batter from the mound. Dylan Park made the play on two ground balls and Okaw got the sweep.
Okaw Valley 3, Villa Grove Heritage 2
Okaw 102 000 0--3-6-1
VGH 000 000 2--2-5-0
Okaw stats: Sroka 2-for-3, BB, SB, 3B, run; Jeffers 1-for-3, SB, run; Hagerman 1-for-3, SB, run; Still 1-for-2, sac, 3 RBIs; Fruchtl 0-for-3; Tiarks 1-for-2, BB; Cloyd 0-for-3; Martin 0-for-1, HBP; Miller 0-for-1; Park 0-for-3; Johnson SB. Pitching (W) Still 7 IP, 2 runs, 5 hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks.
VGH stats: James 1-for-3, SB; Robertson 0-for-3; Price 1-for-3, run; Eversole 1-for-3, HR, run, 2 RBIs; Ch Lemmon 1-for-3, Fitzgerald 1-for-3; Reisteck 0-for-3; Co Lemmon 0-for-2; Pruitt 0-for-1; Charles 0-for-2. Pitching (L) Bean 5 IP, 3 runs, 5 hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks; Reisteck 2 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 BBs, 1 K.