Baseball Cavaliers catch fire, win three straight
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The first game of the season may have been one to forget for the Cavies, but that is now a thing of the past. After only managing three runs against Auburn, the Carlinville bats caught fire and produced 28 over the span of a three-game winning streak.
After outlasting a winless Morrisonville team 5-3 just 24 hours after the opening loss, Carlinville was faced with the challenge of playing baseball for two more days without any practice. This didn’t faze the Cavies by any means. They erupted for 11 runs in the fourth inning en route to a 14-2 mercy rule stomping of county rival Greenfield-Northwestern. Carlinville knew that that same offensive firepower was going to be needed against a tough Nokomis Redskins’ squad on Thursday.
Jacob Ambuel got off to a rather shaky start on the pitcher’s mound, allowing Nokomis to take a 2-0 lead in the first half of the game. Eventually, the senior right-hander settled into a groove and was able to keep the door open for the Cavies. In the bottom of the fourth, Ambuel helped his own cause by cracking a leadoff triple into the right field gap. Colten DeLong singled to get Carlinville on the board, triggering another offensive avalanche. The Cavaliers took control with seven tallies in the inning to pull ahead 7-2. After two more runs of support crossed the plate in the fifth, Ambuel was relieved of his pitching duties by DeLong in the sixth. Right from the get-go, the hard-throwing junior hurler struggled to maintain effectiveness on his pitches – thus allowing the Redskins to respond with a five-run rally of their own. DeLong escaped a massive jam with a two-run lead but he wasn’t out of the woods yet. With two outs and multiple baserunners on for Nokomis, DeLong took a huge risk and threw a fastball at the letters. The pitch got smoked into left field like a bullet that came out of a shotgun, but Kyle Dixon was ready for it and saved the day with a perfectly executed basket catch – sealing a well-deserved pitching triumph for Ambuel.
Carlinville is now 3-1 on the year and is remaining hopeful that this winning tradition will remain a norm as the season progresses.
“We have a veteran team so I was hoping that we would start a little faster than we did last year. We are hitting the ball a little bit better earlier. I would like to see us play a little bit better defensively and there are some baserunning issues that we’re going through also. But, it’s early in the season. We’ll get that cleaned up. We got a great bunch of kids in there working hard at it,” praised Carlinville head coach Don Borgini.
Carlinville senior Jake Ambuel winds up for a pitch during Thursday’s non-conference showdown against Nokomis. The Cavaliers won 9-7. Enquirer-Democrat Photo by Jackson Wilson.