Coalers drop tough one to Plainfield

Brent Sumner
Staff Writer

    The Coal City varsity baseball team put up a strong fight against Plainfield East on Saturday, but wound up losing the 11-inning marathon, 1-0.
    The game was a strong display of what the Coalers (5-3) are capable of, as they held Plainfield, who won the 4A Regional last year, to only one run. The opposition has only one loss so far, losing to Providence Catholic (3 time state champs) by one run.
    “It was a great game to watch,” said Coaler coach Jerry McDowell. “Blake Harseim was just outstanding today against a quality opponent. He really hit his spots all day.”
    Harseim put in eight innings of shutout work, as the defense also put on a show behind him. Harseim, along with the defense, let up only five hits, as he struck out five and walked two.
    Jake Brnca wound up receiving the loss, putting in three innings of relief. He surrendered one earned run off two hits, walked five and struck out four.
    Dan Phillips led the team at the plate, going 2-for-2, while Zack Nolan and Blake Harseim each added one hit.
    The Coaler  offense  managing four hits in the game. After eight games, the Coalers have only seven extra base hits.
    “Our defense had a really good week, but our confidence on the offensive side is really bad right now,” McDowell added. “We have some upper classmen who are struggling at the plate, and we need them to start hitting. We have a tough week again with Joliet West, Joliet Catholic and Herscher.”
    The Joliet West game on Monday was cancelled, but was rescheduled for Wednesday.
    The Coalers will return home on Friday to face Herscher.
Coal City 4,
Bloomington 3

    It was an exciting game last week as the Coalers collected a one-run win over Bloomington thanks to Keegan Gagliardo in the seventh inning.
    Gagliardo made contact with the ball in the fifth inning with a two-out, two-run single as the Coalers wound up with a 3-0 lead.
    Blooming came fighting back with their own three-run inning in the sixth, tying the game up heading into the final frame.
    In the seventh, Connor Best reached base on an error and would eventually score the game winner.
    Brnca recorded a sacrifice fly, pushing Best across for the run to take the 4-3 lead.
    From there, the Coalers were able to hang on for their fifth win of the season.
    Freshman pitcher Payton Hutchings threw lights-out ball in his 5.1 innings of work.
    He allowed just two hits, and struck out 14 through his shutout work.
    Justin Dabulskis came on for one-third of an inning, letting up three earned runs off two hits and walked two.
    Sean Micetich came in for relief on the mound, hurling the remaining 1.1 innings. He struck out two batters faced, while letting up no hits.
    “Payton Hutchings was just unreal, and Sean Micetich came in and threw the ball well to clinch it,” said McDowell. “We still only collected four hits for the second game in a row, but we are hitting in the clutch. This is a big win early in the season over a quality team.”