ALTON – Chicagoland school Wheaton-Warrenville South hasn't had the best of spring trips thus far.
The Tigers, who play in the DuPage Valley Conference in the Chicago suburbs, dropped decisions earlier in the week to Collinsville and Lindbergh in south St. Louis County.
Their trip continued with a visit to Lloyd Hopkins Field at Gordon Moore Park as they took on Alton, but this time, the Tigers came up with a different result as a three-run third inning proved to be the difference in a 4-2 win over the Redbirds Wednesday afternoon.
Tiger pitcher Chris Simpson went the distance, throwing 118 pitches and basically silencing a potent Redbird offense.
“Credit goes to him,” said Alton coach Todd Haug. “He pitched very well, but at the same time, we've got to go back to the drawing board and make some adjustments to our approach. We've fallen into some bad habits and we need to go back to our fundamentals in the cage.
“One thing we can do is learn from our mistakes. We just need to go back to the board and get them fixed.”
“We've been pretty fresh so far,” said Tiger coach Nate Rosklizka. “Chris threw pretty well today, and we've had a bit of trouble because we haven't had much of a chance to get outside (because of rough Chicago-area weather recently). Live at-bats are pretty hard to simulate, but the guys competed well and hung on to win.
“Alton's a good team; they kept us off-balance and we had to adjust at the plate, which we did well enough.”
It didn't take long for South to get on the board; Eric Glitz led off the game with a double, then moved to third on a Ben Flores single. Justin Kelly then singled in Glitz to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
It stayed that way through the third, when Glitz led off with a single and scored when Flores doubled off Redbird starter Matt Hopkins. Jacob St. Peters replaced Hopkins and promptly a RBI double to Kelly and a RBI single to Jeran Simpson. St. Peters fanned the next two batters before uncorking a wild pitch that seemingly scored Simpson, but the home plate umpire ruled Simpson did not touch the place and he was called out, giving the Redbirds a big break.
They led off the home half of the third with a Brendan Phillips single, advancing on an error. A base hit and an error scored two runs, but Chris Simpson shut the door down on the Redbirds.
Alton pitching settled down and never allowed a runner past second the rest of the day, but Chris Simpson did the same to the Redbirds.
Phillips was 1-for-3 with a run scored for the Redbirds; Glitz was 2-for-4 for the Tigers with a double and two runs scored. Flores was 2-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a run scored and Kelly was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Chris Simpson got the win, scattering four hits and giving up two runs while striking out 10 and walking three. Hopkins took the loss, giving up four runs and six hits while walking non and striking out two.
The Redbirds are schedule to take on another set of Tigers – these from Edwardsville – at Lloyd Hopkins Field at 4:30 p.m. today in an early Southwestern Conference showdown.
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Feeney, 56, is a native of Granite City and graduated from Granite City South in 1978. He was a part-time writer for the old Granite City Journal from 1979-84 before attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,
from which he earned his BA in journalism in 1988. He has worked for newspapers in Sikeston, Mo., Rocky Mount, N.C., Seneca, S.C. and in Charleston-Mattoon. He also worked for the old St. Clair County Suburban