By RYAN CZACHORSKI Daily News
Effingham Daily News
---- — KINMUNDY -- It took just one big hit -- and a bit of wind -- to get the Altamont offense going Wednesday against Patoka.
Jon Kuhns’ solo home run to left field in the fourth erased a 1-0 Patoka lead, and kickstarted the Indians as they ended up downing the Warriors 7-1.
The win pushed Altamont to the South Central regional final Saturday, where they will face the winner of today’s semifinal between South Central and St. Elmo.
While the offense took a bit to get going, Kuhns knew he had a shot to do what he did in the fourth. said head coach Mike Dokey.
“Jon told me before the game ‘Coach, I think if I get one up in there, it’ll go,’” Dokey said. “We got that first run and there was our start.”
Patoka came out aggressive in the early going, scoring in the first inning when Seth Allen scored on a wild pitch by Altamont starter Garrett Ziegler.
Ziegler ran in to trouble in the third, putting runners on the corners with two outs, but struck out Mark Rogers to end the inning.
He got in to trouble again in the fifth, but for the most part, the Altamont junior lefty controlled the Warrior offense.
“We’ve always had decent pitching. We’re doing a great job pitching,” Dokey said. “He’s a good pitcher, he’s very smart on the hill. I’m glad he’s only a junior... throwing like he is.”
Kuhns tied the game in the fourth with his solo shot, clearing the left field fence thanks to a constant wind out to left field.
From there, the rest of the bats got going. Nick Miller drove in Klayton Wolff to give Altamont the lead, Aaron Goeckner knocked in Miller with a bloop single and Ziegler scored on a Patoka error to give Altamont a 4-1 lead.
They’d add on in the fifth, getting three runs when a Ziegler fly ball got by a diving Jake Orrell in center, pushing the lead to 7-1.
Ziegler shut the door from there, tossing a complete game. He allowed just four hits and one run, striking out nine Warriors in the process.
He also went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double and three RBIs. Goeckner was 1-for-3 with an RBI, Kuhns went 3-for-4 with the homer and Miller was 2-for-3 in the ninth spot with a double and RBI.
“I had a gut feeling with (Miller), he’s had about 17 or 19 at bats at the varsity level and he’s hitting over .500,” Miller said.
Now, the Indians’ season will continue if they can take down either South Central or St. Elmo Saturday morning.
While Dokey doesn’t know who his squad will face, he knows what it will take to win.
“It’s going to take better hitting, it’s going to take better execution,” he said. “We can’t have mistakes against those solid teams.”
Patoka 010 000 0 1 4 1
Altamont 000 430 X 7 12 0
WP - Ziegler LP - Hood
Altamont: Ziegler (3-4, 2B, 3 RBI); Goeckner (1-3, RBI, HBP); Scholes (1-4); Kuhns (3-4, HR, RBI); Armstrong (1-2, HBP); Wolff (1-2); Miller (2-3, 2B, RBI)