For the Daily News
Marty Mennenga was the complete player on Wednesday.
The pitcher heading to Parkland College threw a complete game, seven-inning gem, while also hitting a RBI double that started a four run fifth inning in Rantoul Post 287’s 8-1 win over Shelby County Post 289-611-725 at the Mattoon Firecracker tournament.
“The first four innings we played flawless,” said Shelby County coach Cary Cole. “Their pitcher threw a great game, but we were still hitting the ball. We only had four strikeouts. We were putting the ball in play, but not hard enough. We were hitting pop ups. Those are the easiest outs in the game.”
Shelby County’s lone run came on a RBI fielder’s choice from Nic Hutchinson as the team was shut down for the majority of the game on offense.
The team couldn’t overcome offensive struggles with the combination of four team errors.
“Every team is going to commit errors,” Cole said . “We need to find a way to minimize them. Walks and errors will be the death of any team.”
Mistakes from Shelby County allowed Rantoul to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Kolten Vermillion made it one out after his fielder’s choice after Tom Wolken singled. Shelby County starter Dylan Ohnesorge was able to get Josh Oliveras to pop out, but he then issued two straight walks. Nearly escaping the inning, an error at first base allowed Vermillion to score.
The pitcher looked spot on until a four-run inning in the fifth limited his day.
The inning began with a single from Tanner McClain and Mennenga followed with a double. After an out, a RBI single from Vermillion scored one and an error moved runners to first and second. Oliveras then hit a RBI single, and Brad Graybill hit a run in with a fielder’s choice.
“Rantoul is probably one of the better teams we have played all year,” Cole said . “We threw our lefty because we knew that they had a lot of lefties. He did get out in front of them at first. Tomorrow, our pitching will need to get back at it.”
Five walks issued by Shelby County allowed Rantoul to score two more runs in the seventh inning.
Shelby County dropped to 5-11 on the season and is 0-1 in the tournament. The team will resume play today at 10:00 a.m. against Danville at Mattoon High School, and at 2:00 against Moultrie-Douglas, also at MHS.
“We will find a way to turn it around,” Cole said. “I’d like to see us get ahead tomorrow. Get one run on the board and get it going early. We will focus on Danville first and then the second game after.”
Rantoul improved to 11-2 on the season and 1-0 in the tournament.
Rantoul Post 287 010 041 3 9 11 1
Posts 289/611/725 000 010 0 1 3 4
WP - Mennenga (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 K, 0 BB) LP - Ohnesorge (4.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 K, 4 BB)
Rantoul: Morris (0-4, BB, SB); Flessner (1-4, 2 R, BB, SB); McLain (2-4, 2B, R, BB, 2 SB) Mennenga (1-3, 2B, RBI, R, 2 BB); Wolken (2-4, RBI, HBP); Vermillion (2-5, RBI, 2 R); Oliveras (1-3, RBI, BB); Tauber (1-2, R, 2 BB, 2 SB); Graybill (1-3, RBI, BB); Ross (0-0, 2 R, 2 SB)
Shelby County: Vonderheide (0-2, HBP); Theis (1-2, 2B); Romack (2-3, R); Hutchinson (0-2, RBI)