No. 13 O'Fallon undaunted by Alton ace

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

O’FALLON, IL – One of the biggest buzz prospects in Illinois this spring has been Alton junior Bryan Hudson. And rightfully so. The 6-foot-7 left-hander possesses tantalizing potential with currently very good stuff.

No. 13 O’Fallon didn’t seem to care.

O’Fallon came out the gates patiently aggressive, and maintained that approach until the Panthers cemented a convincing 6-2 victory over Alton in a Southwestern Conference contest on Tuesday.

O’Fallon (15-2, 5-1) scored two runs in the first inning against Hudson (4-3), and added two more in the second to put away the game. The runs were more than enough for senior RHP Blake Deatherage (7-0), who carried a two-hit shutout into the seventh inning.

With far less fanfare than his counterpart Hudson, Deatherage was in complete control through six innings. The McKendree College recruit didn’t allow an Alton (12-7, 2-4) runner to reach second base in his first six innings, thanks to two 6-4-3 double plays, triggered by sophomore SS Camden Bauer. Deatherage allowed five hits and two runs with five strikeouts and one walk in 6.2 innings. Three of the hits came in succession, which resulted in both Alton’s runs, followed by a walk with two outs in the top of the seventh. Senior right-hander Tyler Herbert came into the game to get the final out.

“Blake pitched a great game,” said O’Fallon coach Jason Portz. “He’s a strike-thrower, he pitches to both sides of the plate and he’s a competitor.”

Deatheridge helped himself by delivering a two-out single that plated Bradley Harrison and Jeff Hahs.  Hahs, a John A. Logan JC recruit, had singled, and scored from first when the ball bounced away from the outfielder.

Hahs did more damage in the second inning when he lined another single up the middle, this time scoring two runs to make it 4-0. O’Fallon’s two-run second inning was aided by three walks issued by Hudson. Hahs finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.

Sophomore right-fielder Bradley Harrison, who’s committed to Southern Illinois, went 1-for-1 with two walks and a deep sacrifice fly to left field in the sixth inning. Harrison’s four at-bats exemplified O’Fallon’s overall approach against Hudson, whose fastball works at a steep angle and throws a sharp curveball. O’Fallon’s hitters did not chase anything out of the zone, worked counts deep and had all-around competitive at-bats, one through nine.

“That’s a quality win for the program,” said Portz. “We executed our game plan to perfection. We wanted to work counts, be tough with two strikes. After the second inning, Hudson was at 63 pitches. He’s tough to hit against. It’s tough to see the ball - it has a lot of tilt.”

Junior third baseman Kyle VanBevern tripled in the sixth inning and scored. He also walked and scored two runs for the Panthers, and Bauer added a sac fly in the fifth inning.

As for Hudson, he struck out five, walked five and allowed four hits in four innings work. Offensively, Hudson had a single in the first inning – and Alton didn’t have another hit until the sixth inning. Alton’s bats finally came to life in the seventh with two outs. Matt Hopkins and Aaron Bonnell had consecutive singles, and Drake Hampton ripped two-run double.

More in-depth scouting notes from the game will be posted in the Illinois Scout Blog later.

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