Senior Gabe Smith throws a pitch Wednesday afternoon in a 12-1 win over Belleville West.

GLEN CARBON - If last season's 28-game win streak was hard to believe, the Father McGivney baseball team has done one better.

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After a dominant 12-1, five-inning short game win over Class 3A school Belleville West, the Griffins improved to 29-0 on the year.

"I honestly can't [believe it]," McGivney head coach Chris Erwin said.

"The level of attention to detail that this team has and the focus they have, game to game, is pretty impressive. To not have a lack of focus. Have we had bad plays or bad games? Yes. But to be able to overcome those in any game throughout this season is impressive. I'm super happy with the guys, I love their approach. I love how they approach each game."

Just like always, Erwin says that the streak is the last thing on their minds.

"I know I've said it before, we don't talk about the streak, but it's because we're trying to focus on that game, that moment, that at bat, and it's really served us well."

The game Wednesday afternoon saw senior Gabe Smith start on the mound. He had a no-hitter going through three innings, until the Maroons put their one run across in the top of the fourth via an RBI double.

Smith threw all five innings allowing two hits for one earned run, striking out 11, and walking two.

"That's the best I've seen him," Erwin said about his ace. "Hats off to him, he was on fire today."

Leadoff men Jackson Rodgers and Daniel Gierer were walked to kick things off in the first before Gabe Smith reached via an error. Three straight RBI singles came from the Griffins before McKee scored on a wild pitch and Rodgers being walked again, pushing a run across to make it 5-0 after an inning.

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The Griffins got the bases loaded again in the second after back-to-back errors allowing Smith and McKee on base. Kannon Kamp singled to get on. Nick Franklin was walked, pushing a run in and then Isaac Wendler hit a two-RBI single to make it 8-0.

Belleville West made it 8-1 in the top of the fourth before McGivney put the nail in the coffin.

The bases were loaded once again, this time with two outs. Gierer and Smith both hit two-RBI singles to boost the score up to the eventual final of 12-1.

Smith finished the day 2-4 with two RBI and two runs. Kamp went 3-3 with an RBI and two runs. Gierer finished up 1-3 with two RBI, two runs, and a walk.

"I told the guys after the game that I thought that was the best approach, collectively, as a team, that we've taken all year," Erwin said.

"To make them work that hard in the first inning and draw some walks, and not chase. Their guy (BW sophomore pitcher John Hilbert) was throwing good pitches, we just didn't chase them."

The Griffins are just six games away from a perfect regular season with two more games this week against Farina South Central and Mater Dei. Their next five games are on the road before coming back home on Saturday, May 13 to take on Litchfield at 11 a.m. for Senior Day.

The Class 2A baseball playoff brackets are out. The Griffins earned the No. 1 seed in the Breese Central Sub-Sectional. The will await the winner between No. 9 Staunton and No. 10 East Alton-Wood River.It will be either the Bulldogs or Oilers vs. the Griffins in the Regional Semifinals on Wednesday, May 17 at 4:30 p.m. at Roxana.

This Saturday, May 6, will be an interesting matchup against Mater Dei. The Knights earned the No. 4 seed and it's possible that we see a Regional Finals re-match between McGivney and Mater Dei.

Last season, it was a rather disappointing, early exit by the Griffins' standards after they suffered a 2-0 loss by the Knights.

This Saturday will be like a chess match as the teams won't want to show off all their firepower just yet. The regular season game against Mater Dei starts at 1 p.m. in Breese.

More like this:

May 18, 2023 - Rodgers Pitches Complete Game, McKee and Sutberry Strong At Plate, Griffins Eliminate EAWR 13-2 In Regional Opener

Apr 25, 2023 - Griffins Score Eight In First Inning, Go On To 15-0 Win Over Visiting Roxana 

Apr 5, 2023 - Five Players Have Two Hits, Gierer Strikes Out Eight, Allows One Hit, Hits Home Run As Griffins Win 12th Straight Over Gibault

Apr 25, 2023 - Smith Hits Solo Bomb, Pitches Four Scoreless Innings As Griffins Come Back To Beat Marquette

Apr 5, 2023 - Griffins Score Late And Plentiful – Beat Staunton To Win 13 Straight