Loggers open season at .500 against Kishwaukee

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Loggers open season at .500 against Kishwaukee

Shayne McNally throws a pitch in the Feb. 25 game agaainst Kishwaukee College.

Shayne McNally throws a pitch in the Feb. 25 game agaainst Kishwaukee College.

Shayne McNally throws a pitch in the Feb. 25 game agaainst Kishwaukee College.

Shayne McNally throws a pitch in the Feb. 25 game agaainst Kishwaukee College.

Jacob Fisher, Sports Editor

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SPRINGFIELD – To kick off a four-game series, the Lincoln Land Loggers found themselves fighting a three-run deficit that they overcame in the season opener.

The Loggers won Game 1 in the four-game series, 6-5, in a four-game opening weekend on Feb. 22-25 in Springfield. Lincoln Land also won Game 3, 10-7. The northern Illinois team would come back to win Game 2 at 10-7 and an error-ridden Game 4 at 8-5.

In Game 1, Kishwaukee took an early 3-0 lead off an RBI double in the first inning, and a two-run RBI double in the fourth.

Starting in the bottom sixth, Loggers found life off an RBI double from Rick Dour and an RBI single from Cole Greer. Staying a one-run game through 7, Dalton Fletcher would steal home and tie the game at 3 apiece.

With a tied game going into the eighth inning, the Loggers gave up a run. However, they answered Kishwaukee with several of their own runs. Andy Lopez brought in two on an RBI triple, followed by Jonathan Walder hitting a single to bring in Lopez. Lincoln Land held on to take the series opener, 6-5.

Game 2

After coming off a win, Logger’s continued their momentum going into Game 2 against Kishwaukee.  In the bottom of the first inning, Walder took a walk, getting a base runner on for the Loggers. With Walder on, Talon File hit a two-run homerun to give Loggers the lead.

Loggers’ lead continued to grow in the first with walks. With Chase Kuntzman hit by a pitch, Lopez was walked in to score. Then, Clay Bachman was walked to bring Fletcher across the plate to grow the lead to 4.

Jacob Fisher
Cole Greer, CJ Fleming and Brendan Hostettler return to the dugout on Feb. 25.

The Loggers continued to stay in control of Game 2 through seven innings. In the top of the eighth inning, Loggers gave up five runs to Kishwaukee to tie the game. No runners were fortunate to reach for the Loggers in the bottom half of the eighth.

Going into the top of the ninth, Kishwaukee took the lead on a three-run RBI double. The Loggers were able to get two runners to reach in the bottom half, but failed to get any runners across the plate. Kishwaukee took Game 2, 10-7.

With the Loggers giving up five-run lead and losing the lead, Coach Riggle stated, “There is a shift of momentum from one dugout to the other.”

Game 3

As the series between Kishwaukee and Lincoln Land is even at one apiece, Loggers look to take Game 3 and the series lead. The top of the first didn’t go as plan for Lincoln Land, as they gave up three runs on two hits.

“Going into Game 3, we knew if we played well we would have a chance to win,” Riggle said.

Going into the home half of the first, the Loggers gave their pitcher some help. File and Lopez got hits, sending a runner on base for Lincoln Land, followed by a walk from Fletcher.  John Plattner smashes a double to drive in two runners. Kuntzman would be the final Logger to get runs on the board with a single, getting two more runners across the plate.

Jacob Fisher
Dalton Fletcher scores a run in Game 4 on Feb. 25 against Kishwaukee College.

Lincoln Land would give up the lead in the top of the third, as Kishwaukee drives in three runs to take a 6-4 lead. The Loggers would continue to trail by 2 until the bottom of the fifth. With men on, CJ Fleming hit a single to drive in Fletcher. To tie the game, Fleming came home to score on Johnny Steinwart’s single.

To break a tie in the final inning, Kishwaukee would blast a homerun with one out. Loggers held the away team to that 1 run, and comes back to answer. Walder and File reaching on a single and Lopez hit by pitch to load the bases, Fletcher clears the bases on a 3-run RBI triple. Fletcher would soon later score on a balk.  Lincoln Land takes Game 3 and the series lead, 10-7.

With a come-from-behind win, Riggle said, “I thought we played well in game 3.”

Game 4

In Game 4, looking to take a series win, Austin Chapman gave up two runs in the second inning.  Loggers couldn’t answer Kishwaukee and went scoreless through the home half. Chapman gave up a run on an error, and a sacrifice fly drives in the fourth run for Kishwaukee.

Jacob Fisher
First baseman Noah Powless stands ready to pick off the baserunner in the Loggers Game 4 on Feb. 25 against Kishwaukee College. Six errors cost the Loggers the win.

Loggers found life in the bottom third, and Fleming hit a single to drive in two and left Fletcher in scoring position. Brendan Hostettler would then drive Fletcher in on a sacrifice fly. Loggers were able to cut the deficit to only one run.

Kishwaukee would turn around and tack on four more runs and drive their lead to 8-3. Loggers could only get two runs across the plate in the sixth inning. With a lead-off walk and hit by pitch, Walder would drive in Rick Dour off a base hit. Fleming, who had a big game, drove in the final run for the Loggers, as Walder crossed the plate.

In a heavy error-based game, Loggers posted six errors in the loss. Kishwaukee took Game 4, 8-5 and even the series at two games apiece. The loss in Game 4 didn’t upset the head coach, Riggle was happy to be back on the field.

Looking forward

Standout offensive players were Fleming who went 5-11 with four RBI and a .455 batting average and File who average .329, three RBIs and a homerun. On the mound, Rick Dour threw for six solid innings and kept Kishwaukee from getting an earned run.

Ben Johnson and Dominic Erlinger were standout players in the bullpen for the Loggers, as the two relief pitchers would get their first collegiate win in the series.

With a 2-2 start to the season, the Loggers are set to travel to Florida to participate in the Russ Matt Tournament starting March 3. Riggle said he hopes to see the loss in Game 4 help the team do better going to the Sunshine State.

Jacob Fisher can reached at [email protected]