LOUISVILLE - Coming off a 12-2 victory Monday over Grayville, the North Clay bats were at it again early yesterday afternoon against South Central. The Cardinals tacked on four runs in the first inning, taking advantage of a number of walks and timely hitting.Not another North Clay run was scored from there, but with Nick McKnelly on the mound, it didn't matter. McKnelly pitched seven innings of shutout baseball, striking out six batters to guide the Cardinals to a 4-0 win over the Cougars."We're lucky that Nick threw a great game," North Clay coach John Frech said. "That's probably one of the best he's had in his four-year career."McKnelly was in complete control for the duration of the game, never facing more than five batters in one inning. By the end of the seven-inning contest, McKnelly had faced just 25 batters at the plate, four above the minimum.Even more impressive, the Cardinals' ace finished the day with no walks. South Central had three hits on the afternoon, and McKnelly hit one batter for a free bag."He pounded the zone," Frech said. "It's something that we've been working on with him, just a phenomenal game. I told him, 'We're not going to give them freebies.'"Pitching with the lead also helped Frech's starter, as the Cardinals were able to score early and often. South Central pitcher Daniel Diss started the first inning with walks to North Clay's Lawson Britton and Nate Micklautz. Adam Cox sent Britton home one batter later on a sacrifice fly to left field, and another walk to Logan Hilderbrand loaded the bases with one out."It's unusual from Diss," Cougars coach Curt Jones said. "He's so consistent."Diss rebounded by striking out Hunter Clifton, but Dylan Walker sent two runs home with a single to left field that snuck past Austin Schwarm to allow the runner to coast into second. Two batters later, McKnelly delivered at the plate, dropping a single short in center that plated Walker for the 4-0 lead. "It was just key hitting," Frech said. "That's what the game of baseball is all about. Everything has got to be on time."The three-run, two-out rally in the first provided all the offense North Clay needed and more. The Cardinals cooled off for the remainder of the game, finishing with four hits, none coming after the end of the third inning."It was real huge playing with the lead," Frech said. "We characteristically don't score until late. In a perfect world I'd like to have kept tacking on, I think we lost our focus."McKnelly didn't lose his, and the pitcher's determination propelled the Cardinals to yet another big win. Pitching equally as strong at the end of the contest, McKnelly got South Central to go 1-2-3 in each of the last three innings, appropriately ending the game by fanning the Cougars' Shawn Meyer.
Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational
The Flaming Hearts of Effingham were the overall winners and also had the medalist. Effingham shot a team score of 312 to beat the host Bulldogs by nine shots. Hearts senior Jackson Wendling finished with a 72 to take medalist honors.
Teutopolis takes opener against St. Thomas More
Teutopolis took the course with a new coach and four players, but as coach Becky Probst said, it takes four to score.
And those four Lady Shoes took their first match of the year, topping Champaign St. Thomas More 216-227 in both teams' openers at Cardinal Golf Course in Effingham.
Time to tee off, golf season starts fall sports campaign today
The fall sports campaign kicks off in earnest Monday afternoon, with the first area varsity contests being held in Windsor and Effingham this afternoon.
The St. Anthony Invitational boys golf tournament will be held at Fox Prairie Golf Course at 1 p.m. in Windsor, while the Teutopolis Lady Shoes host St. Thomas More at Cardinal Golf Course at 4 p.m.
Flaming Hearts' flexibility a plus; Effingham prepping for upcoming soccer season
Three days into the practice season, Effingham soccer coach Aaron Witges sees a lot of flexibility.
It was something his squad had last year, with 10 seniors but young players forcing their way into the lineup as well.
Coming off a 10-8-3 season, some of those young players will find themselves in new positions for the Flaming Hearts this season.
Flaming Hearts set with new coach
The Effingham Flaming Hearts volleyball team will have a new but familiar face leading them on the sideline this season.
As a former player for the Hearts, coach Mindy McCollum-Boswell will look to lead her team to their first regional title since 2008.
Czachorski: Bears backups worrisome
This might sound shockingly similar to a number of columns I've written in the past, but it bears repeating (excusing a terrible pun).
The quarterback situation is worrisome.
Newton soccer kicks off, inaugural season starts Sept. 2
For the first time in the history of Newton High School, a soccer team will be a part of the fall sports season.
Pocrnich wins national ATV title
As people get older, their chance at a national championship diminishes, but Effingham’s Kevin Pocrnich was able to win one at 49 years old.
Pocrnich won the Class 16 Senior 40+ Mountain Dew ATV Motocross Championship and according to the league website, finished fourth in the Class 14 30+ Veteran division. He went out with a bang, winning the final race of the season in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee Saturday.
Teutopolis alum Thompson part of no-hitter
A pair of Effingham natives are making some noise up in the Northwest League.
Teutopolis alumnus Derek Thompson and Effingham alumnus Nick Gardewine, both members of the Spokane Indians in the Texas Rangers organization, earned some recognition over the past week.
Comets coming off stellar season
The Stew-Stras Comets finished in second-place at the state championship last season, a high-water mark for the program in recent years.
Coach Ronda Schlechte lost five players who played quality minutes from last year’s team, but she said she has a lot of freshmen that have the ability to help the team.
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- Flaming Hearts win St. Anthony Invitational