Southwestern heats up, off to 5-1 start in April
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Gillespie, Carlinville and North Mac have continued to prove their worth as three elite teams in the Illinois High School Association 2A Class.
After entering the top 25 over the past couple of weeks, perfection remains for the county trio.
Gillespie’s winning streak has reached double digits. Carlinville and North Mac are both 7-0.
Southwestern is additionally a team to watch out for. The Piasa Birds are 5-1 in the month of April.
The Miners were busy last week, taking the field four consecutive days. That stretch was bookended by two battles with South Central foe Litchfield.
Gillespie took out LHS 8-5 on the road April 4, then looked even stronger during a home rematch with a league win on the line April 7. Bryce Buhs tossed his second no-hitter of year and the Miners won 10-0 in five frames. Tristan Wargo was 4-for-4 with four runs scored while Bryan Jubelt plated three tallies. Buhs, Jack Kaylor and Kamryn Link also contributed multi-RBI performances against the struggling Panthers.
Gillespie also defeated Alton 11-1 Apr. 5 and Lincolnwood 5-2 Apr. 6.
The Miners, ranked No. 11 in this week’s Class 2A poll, are 10-0 on the season.
Carlinville debuted in the IHSA Class 2A top 10 last week, and didn’t show any signs of slowing in its conference opener at Loveless Park Mar. 7.
Liam Tieman and Henry Kufa led the ninth-ranked Cavaliers to a 9-1 thumping of Pana.
Tieman turned in five strong frames from the mound as the CHS starter, striking out 10 Panthers and allowing one run on three hits. Kufa was once again masterful in relief as well. The Carlinville senior spark plug added four punchouts and retired six of the seven hitters he faced.
Tieman and Kufa combined for five hits and six RBI at the dish. Tieman connected on a homer and drove in four runs while going 2-for-4. Kufa, 3-for-4, also left the yard and fell a double shy of the cycle.
North Mac fell out of the IHSA state poll last week, but kept its unbeaten streak alive against a former league rival.
In their only game over the course of the last 12 days, the Panthers knocked off PORTA, 4-1, at Petersburg Apr. 4.
Kane Brown and Owen Berle held the host Blue Jays to one run on three hits. Brown was additonally the offensive hero for the Panthers, helping to break a 1-1 tie and put them on top for good with a clutch dinger in the top of a three-run fifth.
After starting the month of April with a flat performance at Routt Catholic (7-1 loss), Southwestern has flipped the script and is beginning to look like the dangerous flock of Piasa Birds that many were expecting to see.
Southwestern has convincingly reigned in five consecutive games, ripping off 58 runs while holding its opponents to just 10.
An 11-1 home domination of Jacksonville Apr. 3 was the springboard.
Following a three-day break, the Birds stomped Greenville down in Bond County, 13-2, to begin the SCC season. 24 hours later, Southwestern overpowered Hillsboro, 11-1, in another conference dual.
Over the weekend, the Birds swept a doubleheader over Calhoun in Hardin, cruising 15-1 in the late morning and 8-5 in the early afternoon, Apr. 8.
Southwestern’s next game pitted it up against 13-0 Father McGivney, this week’s IHSA Class 2A state frontrunner, in Glen Carbon Apr. 10. Coverage will be featured in next week’s issue.
In other action, Staunton went on a four-game slide, losing to Father McGivney (10-1) Apr. 5, Collinsville (10-0) Apr. 6, Vandalia (6-1) Apr, 7 and Civic Memorial (14-8) Apr. 8. The Bulldogs are 6-5 overall and 0-1 in the SCC.