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EDWARDSVILLE – Gavin Huebner came out of the bullpen to pitch two very good innings as Edwardsville scored five times in the bottom of the sixth inning to defeat Collinsville for the second consecutive day 7-3 Wednesday afternoon at Tom Pile Field.

The game was originally scheduled for Thursday but moved ahead a day because of forecasts for rain and storms on Thursday in the St. Louis area.

The Kahoks led 3-2 going into the bottom of the sixth, but the Tigers were able to do damage, much of it with two outs, to score the five runs that won the game.

“Yeah, we did,” said Edwardsville head coach Tim Funkhouser. “Collinsville took tough at-bats all day and got up on us, and their pitcher did a good job of mixing his pitches and locating well, and we ended up continuing to battle. It was a good sign for us to keep our head and keep playing the game, so it was a good win for us.”

The Tigers put together four hits in scoring the five runs, the big blow being a Joe Toscano RBI double that scored the inning’s final run, while Huebner only walked two in getting the win for Edwardsville.

“I thought (Grant) Schaefer was pretty good leading up to the reliever, and they just made it tougher on us, putting balls in play, and hit some line drives, and they had a nice play on a ball in left field that would have opened up an inning that (Josh) Ohl hit with two outs, and they dove and caught it," Funkhouser said. "And for us to keep tacking on runs with solid at-bats. We have nine guys in the order, and guys on the bench who love taking great at-bats, and just compete. And you do that for a whole game, you usually get good results, and fortunately, that sixth inning was key for us.”

The win was the Tigers’ eighth in a row after starting the season 0-2, and things are starting to come together for the team.

“Our guys are playing hard, and they really enjoy practice each day,” Funkhouser said, “and it’s fun to see. They’re guys that enjoy each other, they enjoy each other having success, and we’ve got a good environment from that standpoint. And we have multiple guys that can do different things. Everybody that practices with us can do something that can help us out, and when they’re given an opportunity, I think they’re chomping at that bit, and they feel confident, and I think the all the players feel confident in them, too”

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It’s been a good first month of the season for Edwardsville, and Funkhouser feels very good about his club’s progress thus far.

“I think we’re good,” Funkhouser said. “The maturity we show each day, and the ability to go about our business, and that’ll always be a constant challenge as the season goes on, just like any other year. I think our batters are taking better at-bats, and our defense is getting more consistent, and combined with the pitching that we’ve had, really, throughout the year, it’s been a good start for us.”

Both teams had good chances in the first three innings. The Tigers had a good chance to get out on top first in the home half of the opening inning, with a single by Drake Westcott and a double by Max Ringering with two out, but Ryker Cain fanned Joe Copeland to end the inning. In the third, again with two out, Ringering reached on an error by the right fielder and Copeland drew a walk. Ohl then hit a fly ball to left that Garrett Morski made a big catch on to end the inning.

Schaefer pitched very well in the first three innings, only allowing two walks and striking out two, but ran into trouble in the fourth. Jake Holten was hit by a pitch leading off, Devon Bovinett singled and T.J. Williams drew a walk to load the bases. Bovinett was picked off second as catcher Dalton Wallace made a nice throw to Logan Cromer for the first out. Sam Phelps walked to reload the bases, and Brant Moad singled to drive in Holten with the first run of the game. Morski grounded into a fielder’s choice to force Williams at the plate, but Spencer Vlasak singled home Phelps to make it 2-0. Kyle Moore struck out to end the inning.

Edwardsville tied it up in the bottom of the frame, starting with a Toscano walk. Two outs later, Hayden Moore doubled home Toscano to halve the lead at 2-1, with Moore taking third on a throwing error by the right fielder. Moore then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2-2.

The Kahoks took the lead back in the top of the fifth, staring with a lead-off walk to Noah Scrum, who took second and third on consecutive ground outs. Scrum then scored on an error by the shortstop to give Collinsville a 3-2 lead. The Tigers had a great chance to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases, but Toscano was called out on strikes, and Brady Schiller came in to strike out Wallace to end the inning.

The Tigers broke through in the bottom of the sixth with their five-run inning that won the game. It started with a single by Cromer, who went to third on a pair of wild pitches, then Moore drew a walk and stole second. Blake Burris grounded out to the second baseman that allowed Cromer to score the tying run, with Moore going to third. Westcott was intentionally walked to put runners on the corners, and Ringering lifted a sacrifice fly to center that scored Moore with the lead run. Westcott stole second and scored on an RBI single by Copeland. Ohl then singled, and Copeland delivered the big blow, a double that scored Copeland and Ohl with the runs that made it 7-3. Wallace struck out to end the inning.

Huebner came on in the sixth and faced the minimum, walking two, but Morski was caught stealing in the sixth and Holten lined into a double play to end the game.

The Tigers are now 10-2 with their eight-game winning streak and play this weekend in a tournament in Westfield, Ind. Funkhouser hopes to keep the momentum going in the right direction.

“That’s right,” Funkhouser said with a big smile. “Just keep it going, and go from there.”

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