SHELBYVILLE — Effingham High School's early-season defensive woes continued here Wednesday afternoon in a 4-3 non-conference setback at Shelbyville.

"I think all but one of the runs we've allowed in three games has been unearned," said EHS Coach Chris Fleener. "I feel confident that area of our game will improve. At least, I hope it does.

The defeat dropped EHS to 1-2 for the season. The Flaming Hearts will return to action Saturday for an Apollo Conference doubleheader at Olney. The first game is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Shelbyville, considered one of the top Class A programs in Central Illinois, was playing its season opener and got some solid performances for Coach Tony Pullen, a former EHS football and baseball standout.

Tyler Sickles reached on an error as two runs scored in the bottom of the seventh to give the Rams the victory.

Effingham had grabbed a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh when Kenny Koenig doubled with one out and scored on Brad Gouchenouer's third single of the game.

With one out in the seventh, Shelbyville loaded the bases and the tying and winning runs scored when Sickles reached on an error.

Effingham took a 1-0 lead in the second when Curran McNeely scored on an error on a ball off the bat of Derek Schroeder.

The Rams tied the game in the fourth and took the lead with another run in the fifth.

The Hearts deadlocked the game in the fifth on Anthony Jansen's single and it remained tied until the seventh.

McNeely pitched the first five innings for EHS, fanning six and walking four while giving up three hits and two unearned runs.

Tyler Fox pitched an inning and two-thirds, fanning four and walking one. He allowed two hits. Only one of the two runs he allowed was earned.

Effingham got six hits in the game, three of them by Gouchenouer. Erik Walkup and Andrew Miller had a single apiece.

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