MORRIS – A wild six-run seventh inning allowed the Morris to stun Coal City, 10-9, in a game the Coalers led almost the entire way Saturday morning.
Coal City’s Lane Cowherd singled to lead off the game and scored one batter later, and the Coalers remained ahead until there were two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. After the second out, three Coaler errors, two Morris hits and a walk that resulted in five runs, Morris won its ninth victory of the season.
“I’m proud of our guys for the way they battled and kept things going in the seventh,” Morris coach Todd Kein said. “We chipped away a little bit, and things continued to happen, and you just never know how things are going to transpire once you get some runners on in the last inning.”
With the Coalers ahead 9-4, Coal City reliever Zach Mellen started his second inning of work by hitting Grant Schluntz with a pitch around singles by Tim Smyk and Tom Cheshareck in the bottom of the seventh. Mellen then gave way to Brad Littleton, who got a strikeout, gave up an RBI single to Tyler Bordner and induced a popout.
Kyle Hill then hit an infield fly that popped out of the glove of the Coaler second baseman, keeping the bases loaded and allowing Schluntz to score. Trevor Lines followed with a two-run single, with he and Hill both moving up a base on an error.
Austin Conrod followed with a smash to the right side of the infield. Coal City first baseman Shawn Greiner did well just to knock it down for an infield single and keep Lines from scoring the winning run, although Hill did score the tying run. Greiner did delay the result as, after Smyk walked, Schluntz hit a grounder to second that was booted, as Lines scored, and Schluntz made it to first without a play.
“We just didn’t play well under pressure. It’s happened a couple times this year,” Coal City coach Jerry McDowell said. “We’ve got some young kids out there that are playing well and going through some growing pains, and made some routine mistakes that cost us the game. Kind of disappointed in that – think we can do better than that.”
Cowherd and Alex Wills both singled and scored for the Coalers in their half of the first inning, and D.J. Budde reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a Joe Quinn double. It was not the last big blow of the day for Quinn, whose fifth-inning grand slam scored Wills, Littleton and Budde and gave the Coalers an 8-2 lead.
Morris had no sustained rallies before the seventh, scoring single runs in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth. It left eight runners stranded on base in the first six innings.
Cheshareck earned the win with four relief innings, during which he struck out seven and allowed five runs, four earned, on four hits and one walk. Coal City starter Jared Skubic took a no-decision, after going five innings and allowing four runs, three earned.