ALTON – The Tigers are headed back to Bloomington.
Get The Latest News!
Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.
The defending IHSA Class 4A baseball state champion Edwardsville High School defeated Southwestern Conference rivals O’Fallon Panthers Wednesday afternoon by a score of 9-5.
The win secures a spot in the Bloomington Sectional Final held at Illinois Wesleyan University, a place that the Tigers are pretty fond of.
The Tigers await the winner between Normal Community and Minooka. Edwardsville beat Minooka 10-0 in last year’s Sectional title game.
Wednesday’s semifinal was originally scheduled to be played at Illinois Wesleyan but was moved to Alton High School where a large crowd gathered to watch on a hot afternoon.
It was senior Logan Geggus who was first out on the mound as the Tigers were the home team away from home. He got himself into some trouble and only made it through three innings, giving up four runs along the way.
Geggus hit his first batter faced and then gave up a single and an RBI double. It was senior Will Millard with the RBI, scoring leadoff man Haidyn McGill to make it 1-0.
Geggus walked the bases loaded with no outs but proceeded to strike out the next two batters before getting out of the jam with a flyout. The Tigers were able to limit the damage to just one run.
“Geggus struggled, but getting out of that first inning was huge,” Edwardsville head coach Tim Funkhouser said.
Sophomore Connor Blue dealt for the Panthers and went up until the fourth. He got out of the first two innings unscathed, striking out a batter each inning.
Millard had another RBI when his single scored Dane Hrasky from third to double the lead in the second.
O’Fallon tacked on two more runs in the third after a Camden Cox RBI triple and Hrasky’s sacrifice fly. After that, Geggus’ day was done.
The bottom of the third saw the first of two Edwardsville solo home runs.
Senior Riley Iffrig got a hold of one sending it over the right field fence to cut the lead to 4-1. Senior Andrew Hendrickson came out to pitch the next inning and closed the game out for the Tigers.
The bottom of the fourth is when the Edwardsville bats truly came to life, really for the first time this postseason. The Tigers turned the game on its head with a five-run inning to flip the score in their favor 6-4.
Senior Kayden Jennings had an RBI triple that scored junior Lucas Huebner. Jennings later scored on sophomore Greyson Rathgeb’s sac fly.
At that time, Blue came out of the game, and entering was junior Jack Velino. He ran into trouble early.
Edwardsville tied it up at 4-4 after Iffrig hit an RBI single scoring sophomore Lucas Krebs. Finally, senior Caleb Copeland hit a two-run double to grab the lead at 6-4.
The Tigers added two more runs in the fifth after senior Cole Funkhouser and Iffrig had RBIs to make it 8-4.
O’Fallon’s Logan Porter hit a sac fly to score Hrasky from third, but it would be their last-ditch effort.
Edwardsville put the game to bed after Hendrickson’s solo home run in the sixth to get to the eventual scoreline of 9-5.
“The basic mantra is we just keep competing,” Tim Funkhouser said after coming back from a four-run deficit.
The win improves Edwardsville’s record to 29-9 while O’Fallon ends the season 25-8.
The Tigers await the winner of the other Sectional Semifinal game between Normal Community and Minooka.
The Sectional title game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Illinois Wesleyan University this Saturday
More like this: