The Effingham Flaming Hearts won their first sectional championship since 1942 Saturday with a 4-2 win over Chatham (Glenwood) in the IHSA Class 3A Springfield (Sacred Heart-Griffin) Sectional Championship.
Down 1-0 going into the top of the fourth with one on and one out, Jackson Lee came up to bat. He got the count to 3-1. He sat back and got a fastball. Swung and the ball went over the hitter eye in center field to put the Flaming Hearts up 2-1.
"I knew he was going to come fastball because he's been all over the zone that at bat," Jackson said. "So i just stayed back and drove it. I knew I had to get a few hits today help my brother [Zach Lee] out."
"Jackson had a big hit the other day and today he comes up with the big home run and another base hit and drove in some runs today so Jackson Lee had a great, great two game series up here," head coach of the Flaming Hearts Chris Fleener said.
Zach Lee was on the mound for the Flaming Hearts and was ready to go. Zach struck out the first three batters he saw. The fastball was Zach's go-to. He said he could not get a good grip on his slider, but still used a curveball.
"My sliders is usually my best go-to two out pitch so it was kind of different. I had to work around that," Zach Lee said.
Zach Lee had 10 strikeouts in the game and walked five batters while going six and 2-3 innnings.
"I had some ups and downs during the game. I lost the control of a couple batters because I walked way too many people today. I usually like walking one person a game and it was a bunch today. I don't know what it was," Zach Lee said. "But overall a team, we did our jobs. And Jackson had a huge hit obviously. They had their momentum after they got that bloop single then he hits that two run homer and it changes everything and it made our momentum change our way and we just kind of had it in control the rest of the game."
"Zach started out pretty well and I wasn't for sure, seemed like he struggled a little bit but when he did struggle, it seemed like he found a way to come back and get out of a jam," Fleener said. "Zach is Zach and he know he might be off a little bit but he's got good enough stuff to come back and get out of a jam. He's a battler and fights, he did his job on the mound."
In the top of the seventh, Brayton Poland tripled. Jackson Lee singled him in to add an insurance run and make the score 4-2.
"That was an energy boost right there," Fleener said. "Getting a big triple to lead the inning off it obviously give your team a little energy. Poland was pretty excited. It went all the way to the fence and gap between center and right field. That is a hard ball to get to whenever you play on turf like this."
The Flaming Hearts advance to super-sectional action at GCS Park in Sauget, where they will take on Waterloo for a chance at heading to the state tournament at 4 p.m. Monday.