The St. Anthony Bulldogs used a crucial four-run sixth inning to defeat the Effingham Flaming Hearts 5-2, completing the three-game sweep in the annual City Series.
Seth Hotze earned the win on the mound, allowing two unearned runs on one hit.
“Seth is who he is,” said St. Anthony head coach Tony Kreke. “He’s a pitcher that’s effectively wild. Tonight, when he’s on, and can get that late movement, you can see from [Effingham’s] swings, that they’re just a little bit late. He was able to battle.
“The biggest thing is that we have to make sure that we as a team not let things snowball. We have to keep the energy up and I think we were able to do that. Energy wins ballgames, and tonight I think we did that.”
Effingham was the first to get on the board. Kalen Reardon got on the board with a one-out single before Matthew Loy was able to reach on an error.
With two outs, Joe Matteson came through with a single that was able to score Reardon and Loy for Effingham’s first runs of the City Series.
“In my opinion, [Hotze] didn’t do anything special, we just lacked the contact,” said Effingham head coach Curran McNeely. “I thought our at-bats were better than they had been. I thought we ran his pitch count up, but he settled in for about two or three innings and we had some quick at-bats and let him hang around.
“I think right now for us as a hitting group, we’re searching and struggling a little bit and pushing, which is typical when you get in a slump.”
St. Anthony looked to be in good position in the top of the fourth to put a run on the board, as their first two batters reached base safely. But Jack Blickem was able to buckle down and get the next three batters in order to avert the danger.
In the top of the fifth, Angelo Mendella reached on an error before Eli Levitt singled and Eli Link reached on an error, and also allowed Mendella to score to make it 2-1 after 4 1/2 innings.
Kennan Walsh led off the top of the sixth and was able to advance to third on a double from Colton Fearday.
With runners at the corners, Eli Moore singled to center to score Walsh and tie the game at two. Brody Niebrugge came through with a double that scored Fearday, giving the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead.
“You have to be ready for anything,” Kreke said. “When your number is called, you have to be ready to execute. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But a majority of the time it will.
“Us as a coaching staff are going to try and prepare them for that. As long as the guys are buying into that and working on those things, it’ll work.”
Will Hoene followed with a single that allowed Moore to score and increase the lead to 4-2. A sacrifice fly with two outs from Eli Levitt allowed Niebrugge to score to make it 5-2.
Effingham put a pair of runners on in the bottom of the sixth after a walk from Jackson Lee and a walk from Quest Hull.
In the final game of the softball City Series matchup, St. Anthony was able to avoid the three-game sweep, defeating Effingham 12-8.
They were also aided by six errors from the Effingham Lady Hearts.
Lucy Fearday and Ana Faber tied for the team high in runs driven in with two apiece.
Cameron Rios, Haley Niebrugge and Maddie Kibler each drove in one.
For the Lady Hearts, Jaidi Davis, Emma Hardiek and Riley Cunningham each drove in two runs. Abby Cunningham and Jacy Boatman each drove in one.