No. 2 SHG rolls on, blanks rival Glenwood

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

CHATHAM, IL – Heading into the season, it was well-documented that Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin had an abundance of high-level position players all over the field. The big question surrounding the Cyclones was if they had enough pitching to be a legitimate state-title contender.

Through 17 games, SHG’s pitching staff has provided the answer, loud and clear. The team has collectively allowed only eight earned runs all season, and that trend continued Wednesday night when the No. 2 Cyclones blanked Central State 8 rival Glenwood, 6-0, on the road.

Junior left-hander Ben McElwee (5-0) has been the biggest surprise for the Cyclones (16-1, 8-0) so far. Pitching behind senior ace Connor Etheridge, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound McElwee has yet to allow an earned run this season. He extended his spotless streak against Glenwood (6-9, 5-4) in impressive fashion, pitching a four-hit complete game with six strikeouts and one walk.

“Basically, the key has been to keep the ball low and not try and do too much,” said McElwee. “I just listen to the catcher and throw what he tells me to.”

Making McElwee’s feat that much more impressive was he outdueled Glenwood senior ace right-hander Brian Hobbie (3-2). The two were locked in a scoreless tie through four innings before SHG finally broke through in the top of the fifth with two runs.

With one out, Hobbie plunked senior third baseman Ryne Elvers with an 88-mph fastball. Junior shortstop Cole Daily promptly made Hobbie pay when the left-handed hitter laced a run-scoring triple to the left-center gap. Daily came around to score on senior second baseman Kevin Zanger’s third hit of the day, making it 2-0.

SHG put the game away in the seventh when it pushed across four more runs. Daily once again was in the middle of it, lining a run-scoring single. Louisville-bound catcher Mitch Trees also coaxed a bases-loaded walk in the inning.

Daily, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound Notre Dame recruit, finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Zanger went 3-for-4, reached base all four times and also scored a run, and senior left fielder Corey Mason added a hit and two walks.

Hobbie, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound Indiana recruit, pitched 6.1 innings, allowing nine hits, struck out five, walked two and hit one batter. It looked like Glenwood’s offense would provide Hobbie some wiggle room when junior shortstop Nick Maton lined a single up the middle to lead off the first inning. Glenwood also had two more hits in the second inning, but the rally was killed by a double play.

McElwee didn’t allow another hit until a leadoff single in the fifth. After that, McElwee retired the next nine batters in order to close out the game.

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

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