BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – Junior hurler Waylon Weirather pitched a complete game shut out Monday night for Central Lee as the Hawks rolled over Holy Trinity 6-0.
It was shaping up to be a quick game and pitchers’ dual as Weirather and HTC’s Cole Thornton worked methodically through the lineups at the start of the game. The two combined allowed only three hits through three innings and one earned run.
Central Lee’s Tyler Hoppe singled to left to start the game and stole second. Jake Fraise moved Hoppe to third on a ground out to short and Evan Doyle reached on an infield smash that caught HTC shortstop Jason Thurman on the forearm and allowed Hoppe to score.
Thornton then coaxed a pitcher-to-second-to-first double play to close out the inning.
The Crusaders went 1-2-3 in each of the first three innings, but then got their timing on Weirather and were in business when Quentin Schneider singled to right center to start the fourth and Jason Thurman sacrificed him into scoring position with a bunt.
Reed Fehseke drew a walk before to put runners at first and second with one out. Collin Thornton hit into a fielder’s choice at shortstop where the Hawk’s Sam Hirner flipped the ball to second to get Fehseke with Schneider advancing to third. Vasin Thurman then struck out looking to leave two stranded.
Thornton got the next three hitters to fly out on just six pitches to retire the Hawks in the bottom half of the fourth.
Both teams went 1-2-3 in the fifth with Thornton and Weirather each keeping opposing hitters off balance with a mix of pitches. Hoppe made a laid-out catch of a Kyle Bredemeyer dying line drive in shallow center and Weirather needed just seven pitches in the inning to retire the Crusaders.
Schneider again got things going for HTC in the sixth with a one-out single to center, but was picked off at first on a quick move over from Weirather in a very close play at the bag. Jason Thurman followed with a single and Fehseke singled to put two men on with two out, but Collin Thornton grounded hard to third where Matt Marlin bobbled the hop, but was able to recover and get Thornton by a half step to retire the side.
The Hawks’ Evan Doyle smacked the third pitch he saw from Thornton to deep center over Schneider’s head and the ball bounced over the fence for a ground rule double. HTC head coach Albert Schinstock had Thornton at around 60 pitches so he pulled him to be able to use him again on Friday and brought in Kyle Bredemeyer. Aaron Willis then hit a line drive to right that bounced over Chandler Rung as he moved in on the ball. Doyle scored and Willis ended up sliding into third on the play.
Bredemeyer then plunked a willing Jacob Brisby on the leg. Brisby stole second with Willis keeping everyone’s attention at 3rd base. Schinstock pulled Bredemeyer in favor of Vason Thurman and then Marlin singled to center scoring Willis and Brisby. Marlin was thrown out at second by catcher Collin Thornton trying to advance on the throw home.
Trevor Petty reached on an error at shortstop and then Dalton Tweedy plated him with an RBI triple to left that Zander Schweiss tried to make a diving catch on. Tweedy then scored on a passed ball.
Luke Simmons reached on an error but Thurman was able to get the next two hitters to fly out to end the inning with the Hawks up 6-1.
Schinstock said pulling Thornton was part of the undoing in the sixth inning.
“He’s rolling along and then I have to yank him in the middle of the inning. No one was ready for that. That’s kind of on me, probably should have left him in,” Schinstock said. “He came out and pitched one of the best games all year, that’s for sure. Got ahead of hitters and kept them off balance and then I had to pull him and that hurt us.”
HTC started the top of the seventh with two singles, but a fielder’s choice forced Vason Thurman at third base, Collin Thornton flew out to right, and Schweiss struck out to end the game.
The Crusaders are in the middle of a stretch of five games in five days. Schinstock said fatigue wasn’t a factor in the loss.
“They’re young. They’ll be fine, it’s more fatigue for the coaches,” he said.
“It was a well-played ball game, they made a few more plays in the field than we did, but it is what it is.”
Schneider led the Crusaders going 2-for-3 at the plate. Jason Thurman, Vason Thurman, and Fehseke had the other hits for HTC.
The Crusaders travel to Pekin Wednesday before hosting Danville and Winfield-Mt. Union Friday and Saturday.