EFFINGHAM — Ben Hecht hadn’t pitched since Friday, Sept. 21, in St. Anthony’s first of two games against Teutopolis, a 1-0 loss to the Wooden Shoes.
He didn’t show any signs of rust on Monday, pitching for the first time in 10 days against St. Elmo in the quarterfinals of the fall National Trail Conference baseball tournament.
This time, the results were a little bit different for Hecht. He again allowed only one run, but this time his teammates were putting the bat on the ball en route to a 9-1 victory.
Hecht pitched four innings, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out seven Eagle batters.
St. Anthony coach Kenny Miller said that, after such a long layoff, he basically had to start Hecht on Monday in order to keep him sharp for a potential championship game appearance on Friday.
“He needed to throw today,” Miller said. “I’m glad he got to throw four innings to tune up for Friday.”
The Bulldogs scored two runs in the second inning, three in the third, one in the fourth, one in the fifth and two in the sixth as part of a balanced offensive attack.
St. Anthony picked up two runs in the second via bases-loaded walks. Miller said he would have rather had his team use its bats to drive in the runs rather than relying on a pitcher’s inconsistency.
“Will we take the runs? Yes, but we need to swing the bats,” he said. “I would rather drive the runs in than have them gifted to me.”
Neil Williams led the way for the Bulldogs at the plate, going 3 for 3 with a walk. He scored three times and also drove in two.
“Neil’s come up with some big hits all year and he always fields the ball well,” Miller said.