Effingham Daily News
---- — NEOGA -- Neoga’s bats woke up Friday with a 15-run outburst against Cumberland. From there, they haven’t gone back to sleep.
Following a weekend where they put up 25 runs in a doubleheader against Tri-County, Neoga’s bats continued the heavy lifting as they beat Altamont 11-1 in five innings.
A windy afternoon helped out the Neoga bats, as they jumped out to a 5-0 lead on a Riley Walk home run in the second inning and Tyler Romack ended the game in the fifth inning with a walk-off grand slam.
“We’ve really started to swing the bats here with more consistency,” said Neoga coach Ted Kerner. “Guys were patient, we drew some walks, Tyler had a home run and Riley had a home run.”
Both homers cleared the right field fence after being aided by the wind. In the past four games, Neoga has hung up 51 runs on its opposition.
On the other end of that Monday night were the Altamont Indians, who didn’t have Neoga’s success when they put the bat on the ball.
“Two wind-blown home runs, but they put it in play, and we had opportunities to hit the ball,” said Altamont coach Mike Dokey.
Neoga got out in front early, when Michael Baker drove in Zach Monroe with an RBI single. Two batters later, Trevor Moore scored on a wild pitch from Altamont’s Cole Borders to make it 2-0 heading to the second.
Altamont put two on in the second against Walk, but he got out of the inning unharmed. Borders alternated walks and strikeouts to start the second, but with two outs and two on, it was a different kind of walk that hurt him as Riley Walk put his offering over the right field fence.
The 5-0 lead was short-lived, as Altamont’s Clayton Ruckman drove in a run with an RBI groundout in the third. Neoga answered right back when Moore laced a two-out RBI single to push the lead back to 6-1.
The teams traded scoreless fourth innings, and Walk continued pitching well, shutting down Altamont in the fifth.
“Riley had another solid game,” Kerner said. “We kind of jumbled our rotation a bit before this game to get Riley to pitch against these guys, because Altamont’s a solid team.”
Kenton Albin led off the fifth with a single, and Tim Yurs and Monroe followed that with singles of their own. Moore grabbed another RBI with a single to right, before Kaleb Hankins got the next two batters out.
But Romack ended the game via the mercy rule with his grand slam, shutting the door on an 11-1 win.
Walk struck out four batters, walked two and allowed two hits in five innings. Dokey said his team was not aggressive enough against the righty.
“We took too many pitches,” he said. “I’m a firm believer, first pitch, if you can hit it, hit it. (If) you like it, you’ve got to be hacking at it.”
Borders took the loss, pitching three innings and allowing six runs. He yielded five hits, struck out eight and walked one.
Walk went 1-for-4 at the plate with the homer and three RBI. Romack was 1-for-2 with the grand slam and a walk. But Kerner thought the key was Moore, who went 2-for-3 with a walk, three runs and two big RBI.
“Trevor Moore had two huge hits for us,” he said. “They scored, and he came up with a big hit. We were able to get it right back.”
Austin Scholes and Garrett Zielger had the lone Altamont hits.
Altamont (3-2) heads to Vandalia at 4:15 p.m. today, while Neoga (8-2) travels to Okaw Valley at 4 p.m.
Neoga 11, Altamont 1 (F/5)
Altamont 001 00 1 2 1
Neoga 231 05 11 9 0
WP - R. Walk LP - Borders
Altamont: Ziegler (1B), Scholes (1B)
Neoga: Monroe (1-1, 3 R, 2 BB), Moore (2-3, 2 RBI, 3 R, BB), Walk (1-4, HR, 3 RBI), M. Baker (2-4, RBI), Romack (1-2, HR, 4 RBI, BB), Albin (2-2, 2 R), Yurs (1-3, R)