No. 8 Simeon upends No. 6 St. Laurence in 9

By Drake Skleba
Senior Writer

BURBANK – In a game with the feel of a Class 4A Super-Sectional, No. 8 Simeon slipped past No. 6 St. Laurence 2-1 in nine innings at Viking Field on Saturday. With both schools combining for only five hits, Simeon did just enough to win this thriller.

The game went to the top of the ninth tied at 1. Wolverine catcher Darien Clifton walked to lead off the inning against Viking reliever Zach Lewis (0-1). Keefe Ammons courtesy ran for Clifton. Simeon first baseman Diontrel Earls hit a ball off the end of his bat that rolled three feet down the third baseline and died. Looks like a smash single in the scorebook.

“I went up to the plate hoping to get on base any way I could,” said Earls. “I had to help my team win this big game.”

Vanderbilt-bound second baseman Ronell Coleman laid down a sac-bunt and when Viking Austin Peay-recruit junior catcher T.J. Marik threw the ball into left field, Ammons streaked home. Viking LF Nate Tholl threw a strike to Marik, who tagged Ammons out for the first out of the inning.

EIU-bound SS Marshawn Taylor hit a fly ball to center. Viking CF Kevin White threw home and came up short. Earls and Marik had a collision at home plate with Earls scoring the lead run, but screaming in pain with a leg injury.

“I went up to the plate thinking I have to hit a fly ball. Nothing on the ground,” said Taylor.

“I was able to come up with the sac-fly to win the game.”

For 10 minutes Earls was worked on by the St. Laurence training staff. Happy to say Diontrel was on his feet for his post-game interview.

“I feel great right now having my team win this great game,” stated a fully-recovered Earls.

Alcorn State-bound RHP Elbert Dunnigan (1-0) fired two scoreless innings in relief, blowing away the final Viking hitter on strikes to set off a huge victory celebration on the Simeon sideline.

“I didn’t pitch well but I came up big when I had to,” said Dunnigan. “This was a very competitive game between two very good teams. We did just enough to come away with the win.”

Arizona-recruit junior Darius Day fired the first seven innings for Simeon (1-0). Day allowed one run and two hits and struck out six.

“I went to the mound today with the idea to attack the hitters,” said Day. “I feel I pitched very well and achieved my plan of being aggressive.”

Simeon got on the board in the first inning on a dropped fly ball off the bat of sophomore Terrance Robertson, with two outs, scoring Louisville-bound CF Corey Ray, who had walked.

Viking starter junior RHP Brad Wood allowed two hits and no earned runs in his four innings of work. Wood struck out five.

St. Laurence (1-1) scored their lone-run of the game on a bases-loaded, four-pitch walk to Tholl in the Viking fourth.

“Great Day. Two great teams. Extra innings. I am so proud of my kids for winning this game,” said Simeon venerable head coach Leroy Franklin. “Darius was outstanding on the mound for us. I am so proud of Elbert for battling the way he did. Diontrel got the big hit and Marshawn drove in the game-winner.”

“We just didn’t make enough plays today,” said St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus. “Two quality teams battled today and we fell just a little short.”

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