The Teutopolis Wooden Shoes used a dominant performance from Mitch Hemmen on the hill to help defeat the Effingham Flaming Hearts Monday 6-2, striking out 10 batters along the way.
“He’s been working on pitches all spring,” said Teutopolis head coach Justin Fleener. “His fastball has some life on it. He throws hard, but if you leave a ball up, they barrelled some balls. But his curveball is looking better and his change-up is looking better. I thought he did a good job at trying to control and locate all three pitches. Brady McMahon did a good job of calling the game back there.
The Wooden Shoes were able to get on top in the top of the second, when Hemmen walked to start the inning and stole second to get into scoring position. A fly out advanced Hemmen to third and came in to score on a single from Justin Hardiek.
Hemmen worked quickly and efficiently, retiring the first seven batters he faced, including four strikeouts. The Hearts put pressure on Hemmen in the bottom of the third when Carson Utz doubled with one out. However, it didn’t seem to phase Hemmen, striking out the next batter and getting the third out via groundout to avert the danger.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Flaming Hearts started the inning with back-to-back singles from Tanner Gordon and Cooper Jackson, respectively. A fielder’s choice advanced Gordon to third before coming in to score on a passed ball to tie the game at one.
In the top of the fifth, Hardiek got things started with a single and a stolen base. A groundout moved him to third before an opposite field triple from Luke Ungrund to take a 2-1 lead.
A single from Trenton Schwerdt drove in Ungrund to go up 3-1, while a single from Mitch Hardiek drove in Schwerdt to increase the lead to 4-1.
Pitching with a 4-1 lead, Hemmen responded by retiring the next six batters.
In the top of the seventh, the Wooden Shoes were able to add a pair of insurance runs, with Clint Weber driving in Ungrund with a double before Hemmen drove in Weber to take a 6-1 lead.
Hemmen was able to retire the first batter in the bottom of the seventh, before allowing a walk to Brayton Poland and advancing to third on a single from Jackson Lee moved Poland to third. Poland then came in to score on a single from Colin Fielitz. A single from Parker Wolfe loaded the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate. After a mound visit, Hemmen struck out the final two batters to earn the complete-game win.
“We gave ourselves a shot, had some runners on base there at the end,” said Effingham head coach Chris Fleener. “We shot ourselves in the foot in the first few innings. We didn’t take very good approaches at the plate. It’s hard to score runs when you don’t have a whole lot of runners on. Unfortunately, we hit the ball right at them many times.”
The win improves the Wooden Shoes to 17-5 while picking up their eighth win in a row, while the loss drops the Flaming Hearts to 15-4.