Highs and Lowe: Blue Devils finish week on four-game win streak, climb back to .500 mark


Quincy High School center fielder Evan Sohn reacts to hitting an RBI triple in the first inning Friday against Rock Island Alleman during a Western Big 6 Conference doubleheader. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The reality of where the week began made Blake Bunch sigh.

“Monday,” he said, “we were four games under .500.”

It’s not how the Quincy High School baseball team’s week ended.

The Blue Devils went on the road and scored midweek victories at New Berlin and Macomb and finished off a perfect five-day stretch by sweeping Rock Island Alleman in Western Big 6 Conference play Friday night at QU Stadium, winning 14-4 and 10-0.

Suddenly, the Blue Devils are back to the .500 mark at 8-8, their five-game losing streak is a distant memory, and they look forward to using the momentum of a four-game win streak as a catapult.

“It just feels good,” said Bunch, the senior shortstop who went 4 for 7 with four runs scored in the twinbill. “We were getting a little down after our five-game losing streak. It really helps build some confidence for all of us, especially the younger guys.”

A seven-run first inning does that, too.

After Bunch and QHS second baseman Joe Schroeder turned a double play to end the top of the first inning, the Blue Devils went on a two-out scoring binge. With Schroeder on base following a one-out single, Tykell Hammers reached on an error that put runners at the corners.

Bunch reached on an error that plated the first run, and Owen Zanger followed with a two-run double. Another error put runners at the corners, and Kyle Taylor drove them both in with a double. The Pioneers’ fourth error of the inning allowed another run to score, and Evan Sohn capped the frame with a head-first dive into third base for an RBI triple.

“It felt like nobody could get out,” Bunch said. “I felt like everybody went up there with that mentality. We just wanted to put the ball in the gaps.”

It made life easy on Lowe, the right-hander who struck out seven and allowed three hits over four innings to earn the victory.

“It takes a lot of pressure off me,” Lowe said.

Alleman scored four runs in the second inning, capitalizing on three walks and an error. Lowe settled back in and retired the final seven batters he faced.

“I struggled a little bit with command,” Lowe said. “Overall, it was all right.”

The Blue Devils backed him with nine hits, eight stolen bases and an aggressive approach.

“In order to score runs, you can’t have just one guy going up there and doing everything,” Lowe said. “You have to have everyone getting on base and guys driving them in.”

Being aggressive finally led to the breakthrough in the fifth inning in the nightcap.

Scoreless heading to the bottom of the fifth — QHS starter Alex Logan allowed one hit, struck out eight and worked around five walks, while Alleman’s Quentin Fonseca allowed just three hits through four shutout innings — Jansen Lawson led off for the Blue Devils with a bunt single and went to third on a throwing error.

It became a merry-go-round at that point. Eight of the first nine batters in the inning singled, and it was 6-0 when Lawson came to the plate for the second time. He walked, Evan Sohn followed with a two-run single, and one out later, Lowe doubled to drive in Sohn with the final run.

“Drive the ball the other way and get on base,” Lowe said. “That was our approach. Make them make a play.”

The Pioneers couldn’t, committing nine errors in the doubleheader.

“We have to focus on getting on base and not everyone hitting home runs,” Lowe said. “It’s a team game, and everything you can do for the team you need to do.”

By doing so, the Blue Devils turned this into a turnaround week.

“It’s really helped us out because we were really struggling,” Lowe said. “It builds confidence going into next week and beyond.”

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