Cavaliers outlast Vandals in extra innings
By Daniel Winningham
Two teams that combined to win just 10 games in the regular season were scratching and clawing to make sure they didn’t have their season end in an IHSA Class 2A quarterfinal May 13.
After battling 11 innings — and the final five frames all scoreless — a game between No. 4 Carlinville and No. 5 Vandalia was suspended due to impending darkness at approximately 7:30 p.m. The action continued at 4:30 p.m. May 14 at CHS with Vandalia batting in the top of the 12th inning.
Vandalia took a 5-4 lead as Carson Smith came around to score after a leadoff double. Smith put Vandalia in front after Eric Pingolt’s throw to first got by Brayton Gibbs. Joeb Easterday struck out the next batter then induced a groundout to escape further damage. Then the home team quickly responded with its own rally.
Carlinville scored the tying and winning runs on a error by the Vandalia first baseman to defeat the Vandals 6-5 and snap a nine-game losing streak.
The Cavaliers’ Ross Albert led off the bottom of the 12th with a base hit to center. Albert stole second and advanced to third on a groundout by Bryce DeSpain. Ben Rogers reached on a hit-by-pitch and stole second, putting the winning run in scoring position. Easterday grounded to first and the ball got past Vandalia’s Michael Wells, going into to right field and ending the two-day, 12-inning contest.
CHS coach Logan Ridenour spoke about the extra-inning win.
“This is most definitely a team victory,” Ridenour said. “You know we battled back three separate times from deficits, and I was very proud of the boys. Each time, they came back, they didn’t hang their heads, they battled the entire game, and even coming back after the suspension, it was just a different feeling. You could tell they wanted it, and they proved it with their actions on the field. That’s why we won. It was the hunger that was displayed today and yesterday.”
Vandalia led 1-0 after the top of the first and was on top 3-1 after the top of the fifth inning.
CHS got a single run in the bottom of the third after Brayton Gibbs delivered a sacrifice fly to left that drove in Marcus Herschelman, who led the inning off with a double to left-center.
The Cavaliers pushed across another run in the bottom of the fifth as Herschelman came around to score after the second baseman’s throw on a double play attempt got past the first baseman.
The Cavaliers tied the contest 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth as the first two batters reached safely and later came around to score.
Ben Rogers doubled down the left-field line and he advanced to third on a base hit by Easterday.
Eric Pingolt had an RBI groundout as he hit a slow roller past the pitcher to the second baseman to make it 4-3 and put the tying run on third base with just one out. Kris Emmons then grounded out to the catcher on a roller that didn’t make it out of the home plate dirt area.
With Herschelman batting, a wild pitch bounced over the Vandalia catcher’s head and Easterday raced down the third base line and slid home safely to tie the game 4-4.
The Cavaliers had several more chances to score in the early portion of the game. Perhaps no bigger opportunity than in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Bryce DeSpain let off with a grounder that went through the legs of the shortshop. Elijah Barber pitch ran and went to second as the pitcher’s pickoff attempt went into foul territory. Rogers followed with a single to put runners on at second and third base. Easterday then sent a fly ball to left-field. The outfielder caught the ball, fired to the third baseman, who threw in to the catcher who was able to apply the tag on Barber. Pingolt followed with a double to left center to put runners on the corners. But a groundout ended the threat and CHS had nothing to show for its three hits in the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Carlinville’s Jake Carter sent a one-out double to left field and advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Gibbs. Albert drew a walk after nearly winning the game with a long drive to left that landed just foul. DeSpain walked to load the bases. Rogers’ liner to left was caught by the leftfielder, stranding three more runners and sending the game to the 10th inning.
Ridenour was asked about the missed opportunities earlier in the game on offense.
“It’s difficult, but the true test of a winner is when adversity presents itself you have to battle through it,” Ridenhour said. “You have two choices in those situations. You can either become disheartened or just suck it up and say, ‘Well, we didn’t get it here, but we’ll get it somewhere else.’ That’s what we did, and why we were able to come out on top.”
Carlinville is now 7-17 overall. Vandalia’s season comes to an end with a record of 4-18.
The Cavaliers traveled to Vandalia to take on No. 1 seed Litchfield in a regional semifinal May 15. See next week’s edition for coverage of that game.
Calhoun defeats Carlinville
The visiting Cavaliers bolted to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second but the lead didn’t hold up as Calhoun rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth frame to win the nonconference game 4-3 May 7.
Eric Pingolt was the starting pitcher for CHS. He went six innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits. Pingolt recorded no strikeouts or walks and faced 27 batters in six innings of work.
Ross Albert had two hits and drove in two runs in the road loss.
In addition to Albert, others with hits for Carlinville were Marcus Herschelman, Kris Emmons, Ben Rogers, Eric Pingolt and Jake Carter.
Scoring runs for CHS were Marcus Herschelman, Kris Emmons and Jake Carter.
Calhoun outhit Carlinville 10-7. All seven of the Cavaliers’ hits were singles.