Prep Baseball Report

Littleton Outduels Headrick As Coal City Takes Down Reed-Custer In 2A Regional

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

COAL CITY, IL – Coal City’s junior ace righthander Brad Littleton outdueled Reed-Custer’s Brent Headrick 1-0 on Thursday in a game dominated by the strikeout at John Cullick Field in the Class 2A Coal City Regional semifinal.

The No. 1 seeded Coalers (29-5) hopped on the back of the Indiana-bound Littleton, who extended his scoreless innings streak to 40 innings in the process of his four hit, 10 strikeout, complete game shutout. Littleton walked only one in the contest, consistently locating three pitches, highlighted by an 86-88 mph fastball.

“Brad’s all-around pitch command has been unbelievable this year, he had a 99:11 strikeout-to-walk ratio going into this game,” said Coal City coach Jerry McDowell. “He was in the zone all day and keeps his composure, nothing bothers him.

Coal City broke through against Headrick in the bottom of the fourth. Littleton lead off with a walk, promptly stole second base, then moved to third on a passed ball. Senior leftfielder Joe Quinn stepped to the plate, after being a strikeout victim in his first at bat on a 73 mph slider. The left-handed hitting Quinn got a 2-1 fastball from Headrick and drove it into the gap in left-center field for the games first and only run.

A single and a walk loaded the bases with no outs, and Headrick raised his game to another level. The Illinois State-commit induced an infield flyball to short, then struck out the next two Coal City hitters to escape any further damage. Headrick finished with 11 strikeouts, allowed three hits, walked three, and hit two. The 6-foot-5 southpaw sat in the 83-86 mph range, touching 87 mph, and showed off an improved slider.

Reed-Custer coach Jerry Cougill said, “Both pitchers were extremely good. You can easily see why they are both Division I-commits. That was vintage Brent, bowing his neck and getting himself out of those situations. You can’t teach his competitiveness.”

Coal City threatened in the sixth off Headrick, with Quinn wearing a fastball off the hip to start the inning. After being sacrificed to second, Headrick also hit sophomore third baseman Eddie Wilkins. Back-to-back strikeouts by the talented lefty ended the threat, giving the Hustlin’ Comets one more shot at Littleton in the seventh.

Junior three-hole hitter Neill O’Donnell led off the inning with a line drive single into center. After a strikeout for the first out of the inning, O’Donnell stole second base and looked to beat the throw of Coal City senior catcher DJ Budde, however he slid past the bag and was tagged out by shortstop Nick Micetich. As fate would have it the next Comet hitter, junior Jordan Walden (Eastern Illinois commit) blooped a single into shallow centerfield, which would have likely allowed O’Donnell to score. Littleton then ended the game on a strikeout, his tenth of the day.

“What are you going to do? We overslide there at second, and of course the next guy singles up the middle. It’s tough”, said Cougill.

Walden finished 2-for-2 at the plate with a double and a walk for the Comets. Quinn, Budde and Micetich had the Coalers three hits.

McDowell added, “What a great game between two great pitchers. Joey Quinn misplayed a ball there early in the outfield, then came back and put one into the gap. He’s a guy hitting about .400 for us this year. This group has played great baseball all year.”

Reed-Custer finished their season at 23-13. Coal City awaits the winner of Bishop McNamara and Herscher who play today at 4:30 at Coal City. The Coal City Regional Championship will be decided at 11 am on Saturday.

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