Reed-Custer beats Seneca in early innings

SENECA – Over the final five innings, the Reed-Custer Comets and Seneca Fighting Irish baseball teams played evenly Friday afternoon, with each team scoring a pair of runs.

The first two innings, however, were anything but even. Reed-Custer scored nine times by the end of the second and cruised to an 11-2 victory in each team’s Interstate Eight Conference opener.

“I thought the first two innings, we were as good offensively as we’ve been,” Reed-Custer coach Jerry Cougill said. “Their pitcher (Hunter Simon) came out and threw pretty hard, and our kids were sitting on fastballs, and I thought they did a good job with two strikes in the count. We didn’t do quite as well in the middle and later innings, but first part of the ballgame, I thought we were pretty sharp offensively.”

Back-to-back one-out doubles by Josh Bull and Jon Costain got the Comets offense going in the top of the first. They scored four times before their turn ended, with Jordan Walden, Jordan Colwell and Mason Dransfeldt adding singles.

The sequel was better than the original for the Comets (8-3, 1-0) in their half of the second. They scored five times, with a two-run Walden double the biggest blow. Bull also hit his second double and scored.

“This was probably the best hitting game of the season, to be honest,” Bull said. “Just making good contact, putting the pall in play, making things happen when we needed it.”

Those runs, along with the two the Comets added in the fourth against Irish reliever Conlan Callahan, were several more than Reed-Custer starter Brent Headrick needed. Hedrick worked five innings, allowing two unearned runs and striking out 10. The Irish stranded seven runners on base during his outing and 10 for the game.

Austin Applebee singled and scored the first Irish run in the fourth inning. They added another in the fifth to stave off the slaughter rule. An errant pickoff throw by Headrick with two outs allowed Callahan, who had singled, to easily score from third.

“We could’ve hung our heads and gotten buried, and Reed-Custer would’ve been back in Braidwood probably an hour and a half before they were tonight,” Seneca coach Kirk Houchin said. “My guys didn’t give up. Conlan Callahan went out and threw some nice, quality innings.”

Callahan pitched the final four innings, allowing one earned run on two hits and two walks. Brandon Viken went 2 for 2 with two walks for the Irish (3-9, 0-1).