No. 12 Metamora earns Mid-Illini sweep over Washington 4-2

By Ryan Quigley
Illinois Scouting Director

WASHINGTON, IL – No. 12 Metamora’s Trent Johnson, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound power hitting first baseman has likely been pitched around for a majority of his career. On Wednesday at Washington’s Wisher field, the Panthers picked their poison, and Johnson delivered for Metamora.

With one out and a runner on second base in the top of the third, 2014 PBR Third Team All-State Ethan Skender stepped to the plate for Metamora with an open base. Washington chose to intentionally walk the Kansas State-bound Skender, who belted 11 home runs a year ago, in order to face Johnson. Johnson noted, “It’s a compliment to Ethan, and I took it as a challenge just to show I can get the job done too.” Johnson did more than that, belting a line shot two-run double to right field giving the Redbirds an early 3-1 advantage. Johnson later scored on designated hitter Geremy Guerrero’s RBI single past third base making it 4-1, giving starting pitcher Alex Lewis all the support he would need.

Lewis was in trouble early as Washington loaded the bases with no out in the first and a run already in. Second baseman Christian Dominguez led off the game with a bloop single to center. After a hit by pitch moved Dominguez to second, senior shortstop Jarrod Watkins (Central Michigan) delivered a hard hit RBI single up the middle to give the Panthers an early 1-0 advantage. An ensuing walk looked to have Lewis on the ropes early. Washington third baseman Alex Hillegonds lined a shot directly at Metamora third baseman Caleb Brachbill, who stepped on third for a huge double play. Lewis then enduced a flyout to Brachbill to wiggle out of what could have been an early disaster.

Washington coach Kyle Wisher said, “Our No. 1 (Cole Cook) pitched really well all day, and really only made two bad pitches. We couldn’t get the knockout hit when we needed it. They are a good team, and we’ve been right with them in the last two games.”

Lewis settled down after the first, pitching into the seventh allowing two earned runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Metamora coach Eric Stone said, “He throws a heavy ball, and we’ve seen him enough to know it’s not the swing and miss velocity but he avoids hard contact with a lot of groundballs…the bigger the stage the better he performs. His command was bad early and we were fortunate with the double play, but he built off that and we gave him a cushion.”

The three run third for Metamora proved to be the difference offensively for the Redbirds. The Arizona-bound Johnson also added a single in his last at bat, finishing 2-for-3 with two RBI to lead the way. Senior second baseman Zach Theiler added an RBI single between short and third in the second inning scoring senior catcher Jake Guede to tie the game at one. Junior lefthander Will Boettcher nailed down the save for Lewis recording the game’s final out on a pop up to second.

Cole Cook was solid in defeat for the Panthers, striking out nine in seven innings on six hits, with three walks. He also went 2-for-2 at the plate, reaching base safely four times with two additional HBP’s. Christian Dominguez finished 3-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and a stolen base. Jarrod Watkins went 2-for-4 with two hard hit singles and an RBI.

Washington added a run in sixth making it 4-2 on an RBI sac fly by Jared Urban, scoring rightfielder Austin Ulick, who singled to leadoff the inning. The Panthers also threatened in the seventh putting runners on first and second before Boettcher shut the door.

Stone added, “our conference (Mid-Illini) is one of the better one’s downstate as far as advancing and competing in the IHSA playoffs. We are playing at a higher level with more of our guys moving on to the next level and doing what it takes to get better in the offseason.”

With the conference sweep (Metamora defeated Washington 1-0 on Monday) Metamora improves to 13-2 (3-0 Mid-Illini). Washington drops to 8-5 (1-2).

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