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GLEN CARBON – If there is one thing the Father McGivney Catholic High School baseball team is, it’s consistent. For the second year in a row, they achieved a 30-win season.
Last year they had a record of 31-7 and made it all the way to the state championship where they were runners-up and fell 4-2 in the final.
It wasn’t exactly an expectation to get that far again, but they certainly had the firepower and depth to do it again. This year unfortunately they crashed out in the regional championship game against Mater Dei in a 2-0 loss. It was only the second shutout loss of the season for McGivney and just their fifth of the year.
The Griffins started the 2022 season off to a 1-3 record including their only conference loss, a 9-0 defeat to rivals Alton Marquette. That game was back on March 23.
Then Father McGivney started winning some baseball games.
They won 28 in a row to be exact.
Father McGivney head coach Chris Erwin preached that his team “just took it one day at a time.”
Whether that be a cliché or not, it worked for the Griffins. They went undefeated the month of April becoming one of the top teams in the state.
The streak ended against Maroa-Forsyth as the Griffins fell 8-6 on the road on May 13.
That was their second-to-last regular-season game of the season. They finished the season with a 9-1 win over Cahokia and then headed into the playoffs with intentions to make another deep run.
Both their regional games were set to be played at Breese Central. They took on and defeated Wesclin 8-5 back on May 20. Then they moved on to play Mater Dei. Essentially being a home game for the Knights, they used that to their advantage and ended McGivney’s season rather short.
Stats and talent-wise, the Griffins were spectacular all season long.
They had four great arms in the pitching rotation with junior Jackson Rodgers as their ace. Also throwing really well were juniors Gabe Smith and Daniel Gierer with a combined 117 strikeouts and 13-1 record. The only pitcher they lose, one of only four graduating seniors, is Clayton Hopfinger. He boasted the best ERA on the team at 1.33 and picked up 66 K’s with an 8-0 record.
Gierer was also one of the best hitters on the team with the best batting average of .460. He finished the season with 52 hits and 36 RBI’s. Arguably the most clutch hitter though was Rodgers. He had a .876 slugging percentage with 48 hits and 45 RBI’s. Eight of the hits were home runs which leads the team. He also led the team in runs with 56.
Also hitting .300 or above were Nicholas Franklin, Jacob McKee, AJ Sutberry, and Nathan Terhaar.
The entire team knew how to swing the bat as they usually piled runs on their opponents.
As said earlier, The Griffins are only losing four seniors with the other three being Thomas Hyten, Cameron Krause, and Darren Luchetti. The majority of their team will be returning next season with the expectation of a regional championship at least.
It will be a long offseason as Father McGivney will try to make it three 30-win seasons in a row in 2023.