Redbirds capitalize on free bases in knocking Blue Devils out in regional semifinals


Quincy High School left fielder Tykell Hammers had three hits and drove in two runs in the Blue Devils' 11-7 loss to Alton on Thursday in the semifinals of the Class 4A Alton Regional. | Matt Schuckman photo

ALTON, Ill. — The Quincy High School baseball team erased a three-run deficit once.

Doing it twice was asking too much, especially when giving away free bases.

Trailing Alton 3-0 after two innings in Thursday’s Class 4A Alton Regional semifinal, the Blue Devils rallied to take a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. After the Redbirds tied it in the bottom of the frame, Quincy came right back with two runs in the top of the fifth.

That lead vanished as Alton walked its way into scoring opportunities.

The first four runners to score in the Redbirds’ five-run fifth were either walked or hit and seven of Alton’s runs overall came from runners who reached base without a hit in the 11-7 victory.

Four Blue Devils pitchers combined to walk 12 batters and hit three others. Noah Wells, who retired one of the two batters he faced in the fifth, and Kyle Taylor, who struck out two of the three batters he faced in the sixth, were the only hurlers not to allow a free base.

The unraveling started in the second inning when three of Alton’s first four batters reached safely thanks to two walks and an error. Two of those runners scored as part of a three-run inning, but Quincy avoided more damage by throwing out a runner at the plate and another at second base.

A Tykell Hammers double drove in one run in the top of the third, and he scored the other as he stole home on the backend of a double steal attempt.

In the fourth, the Blue Devils (15-19-1) tied the game as Jansen Lawson led off with a single, stole second and scored on James Day’s one-out single. Quincy loaded the bases with two outs before Hammers plated a run with an infield single and an Alton error allowed another run to score.

A walk, a wild pitch, a single and a double — all with two out — allowed the Rebirds to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.

The Blue Devils got going in the top of the fifth when Owen Zanger drew a one-out walk, Day singled, and Evan Sohn delivered a two-out double to center field for a 7-5 lead.

The lead evaporated with the Redbirds’ five-run uprising. Alton tacked on another run in the sixth, capitalizing on an error, two walks and a sacrifice fly.

Hammers finished 3 for 4 with a run scored and two RBIs, while Brady Lowe and Day each had two hits. Lowe allowed five runs and six walks over 3 ⅔ innings, while sophomore Cameron Lawson took the loss as he allowed five runs on two hits, two walks and three hit batters in two-thirds of an inning of relief.

Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?

Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.

Related Articles