By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s baseball team put up some gaudy numbers this past week collecting a pair of Central Illinois Conference road wins to stay in the race for the league crown. The Warriors opened the week on Monday, May 24 with a run rule shortened 12-0 victory over Clinton in five innings. Then put double digits on the board one night later on Tuesday dodging raindrops to collect a 13-8 come from behind win over Central A&M.
Patrick Pierce led the way with the bat adding five hits in the two game Central Illinois Conference swing. Haven Hatfield, Payton Armstrong, Cole Cunningham, and Dalton Addis were right behind in the stat column each delivering four hits. Addis reached all four times he stepped to the plate. Sophomore catcher Colton Musgrave found his way to three hits all of which came in the big win over Clinton.
Hatfield and Musgrave both doubled at Clinton in the first as the Warriors jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first half inning. The Warriors added one more in the third, two in the fifth and ended it with seven in the sixth. Cunningham was tops in the RBI department with three. The senior also collected the shutout win on the bump giving up just three hits and a walk in six innings of work while striking out five.
A big seventh the next night proved to be the difference once again as the Warriors rallied from one run down to collect the five run victory. Tuscola put five runs on the board in the first three frames before the Raiders found their way to the scoreboard, cutting coach Adam Carver’s squad lead to one 5-4 with a four spot in the bottom of the third. Cunningham had the answer with a base knock in the top of the fourth setting the table for two more Warrior runs but a pair in both the fifth and sixth for the home team put the Warriors down one 8-7 heading to the final frame.
Enter Pierce, the junior singled to open the stanza and again later as Tuscola scored six runs sending eleven to the plate. Cunningham drove in a pair with a single to left and the Warriors took advantage of four walks to retake the lead. Addis, Armstrong and Cunningham all doubled in the contest while Hatfield led the way in the RBI department pushing three across the plate.
Pierce worked the first five innings allowing six runs on nine hits and two walks, striking out two. Dylan Shinn had the pill in the two-run sixth giving up two hits and a walk and Ben Tiezzi closed the door in the bottom of the seventh for the win striking out one and inducing a pair of ground ball outs.