By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s baseball team put a snowman on the board in the first frame this past Saturday and then used Cole Cunningham in the seventh to close the door on a 10-7 Central Illinois Conference victory over a solid Sullivan squad. Second baseman Dalton Addis swung the hot bat for the Warriors singled in the big inning before opening the bottom of the second with a lead off solo shot to make it 9-0 Warriors. Sophomore Easton Cunningham had a pair of hits as well, scoring twice.
Tuscola opened the contest with back to back walks issued to Payton Armstrong and Cole Cunningham before Ben Tiezzi and Colton Musgrave banged out a double and a triple respectively to get the ball rolling plating the first three runs. Addis followed with a base knock, as did Patrick Pierce sending two more home before Armstrong singled in his second at bat of the stanza scoring one. A pair of Redskin miscues allowed two more to cross the dish making 8-0 Warriors after one.
Sullivan started to chip away in the fourth with a pair added another in the fifth cutting it to 9-4. Tuscola responded within the sixth but a four-run rally in the top of the seventh made things interesting. Enter Cole Cunningham, who slammed the door shut on the final two outs, striking out on and collecting the save on 17 pitches. Nate Koester was on the hill for the first four innings giving up three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out a pair collecting the win. Pierce entered in the fifth, worked into the seventh allowing three runs on four hits but before exiting the hill.
Two nights earlier the boys in black and gold came up just short in another CIC skirmish on senior night dropping a tough one to Shelbyville at home 5-2. Tiezzi allowed five runs, just three earned runs, scattering eight hits and two walks out over six innings of work taking the loss. Pierce closed the game striking out one and giving up one hit in the seventh. The Redskins pushed one across in the first on a hit and an error and added two more in the second on three singles. Musgrave erased one of the runners with a laser beam to second on an attempted steal to minimize the damage. The catcher broke up the no hitter in the fourth with a double to right but was left.
One frame later the Warriors climbed to within one thanks to a one out single by Armstrong and a two-run round tripper by Addis making it 3-2 Shelbyville headed to the fifth. The Rams played some long balls of their own in the next half inning, plating a pair on a home run. That’s where it would stay despite hits by Tiezzi and Armstrong in the bottom and C. Cunningham in the seventh. Addis and Musgrave both had extra base hits and five others donated singles to the cause.