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Local

Coal City baseball splits a pair in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE — The Coal City baseball team hit the road Saturday and opened its season in the Spring Jamboree at Lenz Field. The Coalers split their two games by losing to Rock Island, 15-3, then bouncing back to defeat Peoria Richwoods 7-3.

"We did not play well in the opener," Coal City coach Jerry McDowell said. "We played nervous and our defense let us down. It was nice to see this good competition from larger schools."

In Game 1, Jake Brnca took the loss giving up three earned runs in two innings. He was followed the mound by Justin Dabulskis and Connor Best. Dean Moir and Blake Harseim collected the Coalers' only hits. 

Game 2 saw freshman Payton Hutchings pitch three shutout innings and collect four strikeouts in picking up the win. Austin Mellen and Blake Harseim followed him to the mound and combined to give up three runs on four hits and strike out two. Leadoff hitter Brnca had three hits and two runs scored . Harseim and Austin Friddle each had two hits and an RBI. Keegan Gagliardo and Connor Best each added a hit and an RBI. Justin Dabulski added a double and Sean Micetich collected two RBIs on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt.

"We bounced back and played errorless ball the second game," McDowell noted. "It was nice to see all 19 players get in and finally get game action. I thought our six pitchers did pretty nice overall, considering it was the first game and cold."

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