Longhorns return to semi-finals
LINDEN — Marengo Academy blasted Lakeside 10-0 and 17-3 Thursday to punch its ticket to the second round of the AISA Class AA state playoffs.
Game one saw Marengo Academy jump on Chief starter Dakota Maldonado for three runs in the first inning, staking senior Matt Wallace to a lead he would never relinquish.
Trevor Johnson hit an RBI grounder to the shortstop to plate Matt Etheridge for the first run of the game. Wyatt Hale then moved around to score as an errant sailed to the edge of the Longhorn dugout. The miscue also enabled Johnson to reach third. Mason Rogers quickly added to the lead when his RBI double sent Johnson home to push the advantage to 3-0.
Marengo added another run in the third when Wallace singled home Rogers, who had previously reached on an infield single with two outs in the inning.
Marengo added to its lead in the fourth when Etheridge stroked a single that plated Jamey Clements before Chris Sammons sent Etheridge across home for the sixth run of the game.
The Longhorns wrapped up the game in the sixth by scoring four runs. Sammons and Johnson drew back-to-back walks to set the table before Wallace singled to score courtesy runner Wyatt Hale. Clements then drove a ball to deep left that was dropped by the Chief outfielder, letting Johnson and Wallace push the lead to 9-0. Kevin Pritchett finished off the game with an RBI double that scored Clements to finish out the game.
Wallace gave up only three hits and two walks over six innings of work while striking out two on only 78 total pitches.
“He threw the ball well. He learned to throw to contact,” Marengo head coach Jonathan Lindsey said. “He did a good job. The defense played well behind him.”
Etheridge went 1-for-2 with two stolen bases, an RBI and two runs scored. Rabe Hale went 1-for-4 with a stolen base. Sammons was 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI.
Wyatt Hale stole a base and scored two runs. Johnson went 1-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. Rogers finished the opening game at 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base.
Wallace went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Clements finished 1-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBIs. Pritchett finished 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI.
The second game saw the Longhorns fall behind 1-0 after the first three Chief batters of the contest reached. The deficit was short-lived for the Longhorns as Rogers reached on an E6 to open the second inning before Wallace executed a sacrifice bunt to move him up. After a Jacob Dunn walk, Devin Stroud ripped the first pitch he saw into the gap in right center for a two-RBI double. Stroud later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Rabe Hale. Pritchett scored the fourth run of the inning a balk to put Marengo up 4-1.
Rogers hit a home run to lead off the third inning before Dunn set the table with a single, later coming around to score on a single by Etheridge to put the MA advantage at 6-2.
The Longhorns kept the pedal to the floor in the fourth inning when Sammons opened with a leadoff double before Johnson followed up with an RBI two-bagger that scored courtesy runner Wyatt Hale. Rogers then ripped a double to plate Johnson before coming around to score on a Wallace single. After a Jacob Dunn walk, Pritchett had a two-RBI double to put the Longhorns up 11-2.
Marengo Academy put the game away in the fifth inning when Sammons and Johnson led the frame off with a pair of singles. Rogers followed with his second round-tripper of the game, a three-run shot to put the Longhorns up 14-2.
Pritchett hit a two-run shot later in the inning to stretch the lead again before an RBI single by Sammons sent Etheridge home for the last score of the game.
Etheridge went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, a walk, a run scored and a pair of stolen bases. Rabe Hale finished 1-for-5 with a double. Sammons went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Johnson went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Rogers went 3-for-4 with a stolen base, four runs scored, two home runs, a double and five RBIs.
Wallace finished 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Dunn went 1-for-2 with two walk, three runs scored and a stolen base.
Stroud went 1-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Pritchett was 2-for-2 with a home run, a double, four RBIs and two runs scored. Wyatt Hale scored two runs in the game.
“Some folks in the lineup didn’t swing it like they usually have and Mason (Rogers) and Kevin (Pritchett) came up big,” Lindsey said of the tandem that tallied nine RBIs for the Longhorns in the second game of the season.
The offensive fireworks were more than enough to back up the mound efforts of Rogers, who struck out seven over five innings of work while scattering seven hits and allowing three runs.
Marengo Academy will host its second round playoff series next Wednesday with a double-header set to begin at 3 p.m. If necessary, game three will be played Thursday.