MA advances to Round 2

Published 12:59 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

Matt Wallace put together one of the best efforts of his young career Friday, helping Marengo Academy to a 10-0 win over Lakeside in game one of the AISA Class AA playoffs. MA then won the backside of the double-header 10-0.

“He had great stuff,” Marengo Academy head coach Jonathan Lindsey said of Wallace.

The junior toed the rubber from the outset and was absolutely untouchable for most of the game. He retired the first 17 batters he facedin dominating fashion, carrying a perfect game into the sixth inning.

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Wallace retired the first two hitters of the inning before a groundball blazed pass the mound. Shortstop Rabe Hale dove into the gap just shy of second base to field the grounder. He popped to his feet and fired to first, narrowly missing the out. Hale’s herculean effort nearly preserved Wallace’s perfect game and no-hitter.

As is, the junior finished the game with eight strikeouts, one hit and now walks over six innings of work.

“Other than his outing at Tatnall (Square, Ga.), that is one of the better games he’s thrown as far as hitting spots and being able to locate,” Lindsey said of Wallace’s work.

The pitching gem comes right on cue for Wallace, who the Longhorns have come to rely upon in their biggest games.

“He’s a big game player,” Lindsey said. “He’s been a big game player since I’ve had him for three years now.”

Marengo found offensive help early as Lakeside pitching plunked three batters in the first inning to load the bases with one out. Wallace drew a walk to plate Matt Etheridge, picking up an RBI in the process. Michael Martin when followed with an RBI groundout that scored Collins. Kevin Pritchett, running for catcher Chris Sammons, scored on an error to stretch it to 3-0.

In the fourth inning, MA plated two more when Dunn and Hale scored on a Fultz RBI squeeze that ultimately led to an error. Sammons hit a leadoff solo shot in the fifth to open the gap more before MA blew it open in the sixth. Etheridge, Collins and Sammons all scored before Hale hit a single to plate Wallace and end the game. The Longhorns struck early in game two with a solo home run from Wood Collins and a three-run shot from Martin coming in the first inning. Up 4-0, MA stretched the lead more when Hale scored on an Etheridge single in the third. Etheridge, Collins, Sammons and Wallace launched a hit parade to open the game up, taking a 9-0 lead into the fifth before rain halted play again. Hale later hit a solo shot to give MA the 10-0 lead.