Prep Baseball Report

3A Ottawa Sectional Final: Coal City Upends No. 3 Joliet Catholic, Rally To 7-3 Victory

By: Adam Panayotovich
Area Scout

OTTAWA, IL - With Sectional Championship games underway all over the state today, the Ottawa bracket was poised for a duel between two of the top left-handed pitchers in the state in Coal City Coaler Payton Hutchings (‘20, Illinois commit) and Joliet Catholic Hillmen Aidan Tyrell (‘18, Notre Dame comit). With a little help from teammate Blake Harseim (‘18, Heartland CC commit) who tossed 4.1 scoreless innings out of the pen, Hutchings and Coal City ended the Hillmen’s season claiming the Sectional crown, 7-3 final.

Coming off a Sectional Semifinal where he threw 44 pitches two-days ago, Hutchings set the tone of the game early with his quick tempo and ability to pound the strike zone. The Sophomore lefty retired five straight before nipping Joliet Catholic’s DH Tony Fleischauer in the elbow setting the plate for a two-out RBI double from Max Cullen. Cullen worked a 9-pitch full count before lacing the two-bagger to the opposite field gap. Hutching’s would plunk two more Hillmen in the third before giving up an two-run triple to left/center field to Greg Ziegler (Missouri State commit).

After the triple, exit Hutching, enter Harseim. The right-hander picked up right were Hutchings started the game, filling the zone with three pitches keeping a potent JCA lineup at bay. Not once did Harseim allow a runner to advance to scoring position. He earned the victory with a line. 4.1IP, 2H, 0R, 2K, 1BB.

The Coalers started hot with back to back doubles from the 1-2 hole of Hutchings and Keegan Gagliardo. Gagliardo pulled an 88 mph fastball down the first base line to give his team the 1-0 early lead.

The game saw three lead changes and Coal City made the biggest splash in the fifth frame. The Coalers drew four walks in the inning, three of which scored. Hutchings’ led the inning off with a single to center, Harseim roped an RBI single to left and sprinkled in between the two base knocks were two base on balls. After the third walk of the inning, which happened to be an RBI free pass, Joliet Catholic reliever Zak Gould (Memphis commit) entered the game. Gould would strike out the first batter he saw and was then faced with the turning point in the game. With the bases still loaded, Gould induced a ground ball to third base, which was thrown home errantly to the backstop. Two unearned runs score and next guy up Jack Bunton smacked a two-run double to left which seemed to be mis-played by Tyrell who defensively moved to left field.

Harseim would retire six of the next seven batters to seal the envelope and send Coal City to the Super Sectionals. The Coalers will face off with the winner of Brooks/St. Ignatius at Standard Bank Stadium (Crestwood, IL) Monday night (6/4) at 5 PM.

Statistical Highlights

+ Payton Hutchings (Coal City, 2020): 2-for-3, 2B, 2R, BB

+ Blake Harseim (Coal City, 2018): 2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI

+ Keegan Gagliardo (Coal City, 2019): 1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI, BB

+ Jack Bunton (Coal City, 2020): 1-for-2, 2B, 2RBI

+ Max Cullen (Joliet Catholic, 2019): 2-for-3, 2B, RBI

+ Greg Ziegler (Joliet Catholic, 2019): 1-for-2, 3B, 2RBI

For more in-depth notes from the game - and all other games that we cover - visit the Illinois Scout Blog later.