In a preview of a Regional match-up scheduled just over a week away, the Collinsville and Belleville East high school baseball teams played their final regular season matchup.
The game went to extra innings before Collinsville (18-13 overall, 8-5 Southwestern Conference) lost 4-3 in the eighth inning in Belleville.
The Kahoks’ runs came not with an offensive onslaught, but by playing small ball and taking advantage of opportunities.
In the third inning, with the score already 1-1, Collinsville took a one-run lead when shortstop Grant Bauer scored from third on a ground out. Bauer reached base with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from second baseman Mitch Reising. Bauer then stole third before scoring.
Belleville East (14-12, 6-6 SWC) tied the game in the fifth, but, in the sixth, Collinsville took another one-run lead after Zack Mathes scored on a flyout. Mathes started the inning with a single before taking second on a passed ball. He, too, was on third after stealing the base.
Collinsville Head Coach Pete Trapp said there were a few more opportunities for the Kahoks to score, but they could not get enough going offensively.
“We just didn’t put enough pressure on them. We get up by a run and let them back in,” Trapp said. “You get up by three or four runs on them, it’s a little more difficult for them. We just didn’t do that.”
The Lancers again tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, although they managed only single run on a double and two singles.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Lancers had a runner on first with no outs.
A sacrifice bunt attempt turned into a double play when first baseman Tanner Houck caught the runner at second, who had overrun and failed to get back in time. Shortly thereafter, the game went to extras.
Belleville East almost ended in the game in the bottom of the eighth with one out, but a botched squeeze play resulted in the runner from third getting tagged out at home.
Despite the misplay, the Lancers loaded the bases up on a walk with two outs. A single ended the game with a 4-3 Belleville East victory.
Trapp said the team made some blunders at critical points.
“You do that against a good team like Belleville East, they’re going to beat you, and they did,” Trapp said. “When you make mistakes, they beat you. Shame on us for not making all the plays and not doing enough offensively.”
Looking forward to the Regional match up next Thursday, May 29, Trapp said that game is in the Kahoks’ hands.
“I’ve never not felt confident going into any game I’ve ever played in or coached in. I feel just as confident going into that game as I do tomorrow in Edwardsville,” Trapp said. “[Belleville East is] a good baseball team. I know if we make mistakes, we might not win. If we don’t make mistakes and play clean baseball, we’ll probably win.”
Mathes threw six innings in Monday’s game, as Trapp stayed true to his plan of keeping Houck’s pitching a mystery for the Lancers.
The Kahoks return home Tuesday to play Edwardsville at 4:30 p.m. at Fletcher field. That game will be carried by kahoksports.com.