Revenge was sweet for J.T. Blaine and the Coal City baseball team Monday.
Blaine, who quarterbacked the Coalers to the Class 4A football semifinals--where they lost to eventual champion Driscoll, pitched a complete game in an 8-4 victory over the Highlanders at the Class 2A Benedictine University supersectional.
"They ended my career in football this year," Blaine said of the 41-14 semifinal loss that featured a pregame confrontation between the two football teams, from which many players play baseball. "[We] came back and I got to hand them a loss. It's pretty sweet."
Blaine had help from his offense and some critical miscues by Driscoll late in the game.
Coal City (22-11) took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning when a couple of two-out walks came back to haunt Blaine. Driscoll catcher Adam Davis scored on a Gabe Tumlos single, and Pierre Washington-Steel--pinch running for Kyle Sanders--gave Driscoll the lead during the next at-bat, scoring on a wild pitch.
But the Driscoll advantage was short-lived. The Coalers plated two unearned runs in the top of the sixth inning, also with two outs.
Joel Lardi reached on an error by shortstop David Schwabe. Colt Smith followed with a double to left field that was misplayed by Mark Doroba, allowing Smith and Lardi to trot home, giving Coal City a 5-4 lead.
The Coalers added three runs in the top of the seventh, chasing starter Anthony Campanella (7-5). Blaine (9-3) allowed only one base-runner in the final two innings. He allowed six hits during his seven innings, striking out nine.
Lardi broke a scoreless tie in the second inning, belting a three-run home run over the 360-foot sign in left field. Schwabe's two-run single in the bottom of the inning brought the Highlanders back to within one.
"We had a good showing today," Lardi said. "We played strong, played good defense it just came through for us."
The Coalers will face Stanford Olympia Friday in the 2A semifinal in Joliet. Driscoll's season ended at 24-9.
In the Class 1A supersectional at Benedictine, Immaculate Conception was eliminated 6-2 by Granville Putnam County (19-8). Winning pitcher Ben Fogle (6-3) tossed a three-hitter and went 4-for-4 with two steals in the leadoff spot for the Panthers, who had outlasted Streator Woodland 3-2 in 16 innings Saturday. Danny Muisenga (4-5) took the loss for Immaculate Conception (14-19).
The Panthers, whose coach Ken Jenkins is retiring after this season, play in a 1A semifinal Friday against Jacksonville Routt.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times