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Rangers win streak ends in Herrin

  • Dillon Poe went the distance giving up just one hit, but he walked three and hit a batter.

    Dillon Poe went the distance giving up just one hit, but he walked three and hit a batter.
    JON LeBLOND | For The News

 
BY GEARY DENISTON
Contributing Writer
updated: 4/2/2019 11:27 AM

The Benton Rangers entered last week on a three-game winning streak and started with a convincing 13-0 road win over Anna-Jonesboro, but the rain that soaked the region wiped out not only the next two games against Mount Vernon and Hamilton County, but it also stalled the Rangers' momentum as the streak ended in Herrin with a 3-2 loss Monday in the Rangers Ohio Division conference opener.

"We've won the conference four years in a row, but this year everybody has a few good players, so everybody has a chance to win the conference," said Benton coach Brett Blondi. "Murphysboro has a pitcher, Harrisburg's got a good team, Massac County has a real good pitcher (Jaze Mizell) that's going to SIU, Frankfort should have a good team and Herrin has a pitcher that can beat anybody, so things are pretty wide open."

Benton (6-3) led 2-1 after three innings, but Herrin scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth, which proved to be the difference. Dillon Poe went the distance giving up just one hit, but he walked three and hit a batter.

Kael Pearce went 2-for-3 with a RBI and Kanon Cantrell went 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI.

For the week, Brady Gischer hit .571 with four hits in seven at-bats and two RBIs and Cantrell hit .500 with four hits in eight at-bats with four RBIs. Poe also had a good week at the plate hitting.375 with three RBIs.

In the win over the Wildcats, the Rangers got great pitching and great hitting to keep the winning streak alive.

"We actually had the opportunity to practice a few times on the field before the rain, which we had not done all season, and I feel like the team continues to get better each day in terms of concentration and execution," Blondi said. "I like where we are offensively. We've thrown the ball well and Cantrell has done real nice job behind the plate."

The Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 in the first inning on a one-out two-run single by Jon Tate. The final run scored on a sacrifice fly by T.J. Cocke. Benton added a run in the second, five runs in the third and four runs in the fourth.

The Rangers banged out 14 hits against three Wildcat pitchers led by Jared Shaw, who went 3-for-3, and Gischer with three hits in four at-bats and a RBI and Cantrell with a double and a triple and three RBIs and Dillon Poe driving in three runs on two hits.

"We walked a handful of times, but for the most part we hit the ball well," Blondi said. "We got good pitching and defensively we didn't have an error, so it was a very good game."

Freshman Reid Baumgarte drew the start and the right-hander faced nine batters and retired all nine on 31 pitches with five strikeouts to earn the win.

"That was Reid's first varsity start and he really threw the ball well," Blondi said.

Sophomore Mitch Giacone made his seventh appearance out of the eight games pitching the fourth inning. He gave up the only hit of the game for Anna-Jonesboro, a one-out single by Carson Reynolds.

"Their only hit was a ground ball between short and third that Dillon dove and gloved it, but his throw was in the dirt and Blake Stewart was backing up and when the batter made the turn Blake tagged him out," Blondi said.

Junior Daniel Holloway finished up pitching the fifth inning retiring the side on just four pitches.

Benton has a busy week ahead continuing its conference schedule by hosting West Frankfort on Tuesday and traveling to Harrisburg Thursday.

After hosting Farina South Central Saturday morning at 10 a.m., the conference schedule continues with Massac County on the road Monday and Murphysboro at home Tuesday.