By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The final stretch of the high school baseball regular season is packed with anticipation, particularly for three undefeated Macoupin County heavyweights.
In addition to being perfect up to this point, Gillespie, Carlinville and North Mac each share the perch of the South Central Conference. However, all of that is about to change. In the upcoming weeks, the field will finally morph into its true shape and the champion shall be revealed.
Southwestern is also in the running for the crown.
The 13-0 Gillespie Miners spent most of the last week road cooking.
Gillespie dominated Carrollton 7-1 Apr. 8 and New Berlin 7-0 Apr. 10 before making a pit stop back home Apr. 11.
The Miners took care of business on their soil with a 5-0 win against Vandalia, then ventured to Staunton and seized rivalry bragging rights by pounding the Bulldogs, 12-4.
Gillespie ascended four spots in the Illinois High School Association Class 2A ranking and debuted in the top ten. The Miners are currently eighth in the state and 3-0 in the South Central Conference.
Carlinville extended its winning streak to double digits with a trio of home victories at Loveless Park, back-to-back-to-back.
The Cavaliers coasted to a 10-0 win over East Alton-Wood River Apr. 12, but flirted with disaster the next day.
Carlinville coughed up two five-run advantages and was trailing by one tally down the stretch. However, the Cavaliers had just enough offense left in the tank to get by Jerseyville Apr. 13. Carlinville plated three clutch runs in the bottom of the sixth to regain a 13-11 advantage prior to Sam Quarton and Henry Kufa landing the final outs and halting one last Jersey rally.
The Cavaliers polished up their game for an Apr. 14 conference showdown and mercy-ruled Hillsboro, 15-0.
Carlinville is 10-0 overall and currently 10th in the IHSA Class 2A poll.
North Mac collected a pair of victories over Hillsboro and Litchfield in its first ever SCC contests last week.
The Panthers erupted for 10 first inning tallies en route to a 19-0 road stomping of the Hiltoppers in four Apr. 11.
Litchfield put up much more of a fight on Virden turf, but North Mac pulled away for its tenth straight win, 6-2, after the contest was tied (2-2) heading into the bottom of the fifth.
North Mac is ranked in the IHSA Class 2A poll for the second time in the past three weeks. The Panthers are 24th overall.
Southwestern improved to 3-0 in the SCC with victories over Litchfield (13-3) Apr. 11 and Vandalia (6-4) Apr. 14.
The Birds went down hard against Class 2A frontrunner Father McGivney (13-2) Apr. 10, then rebounded against Marquette at home (11-8) Apr. 12 before coming up empty-handed in a weekend doubleheader.
Southwestern lost 9-1 to Freeburg and 4-3 to Pleasant Plains Apr. 15.
The Birds are 11-6 on the season.
In other action, Staunton racked up a pair of road wins, including its first conference triumph of the season at Pana, 16-4, Apr. 11. The 8-6 (1-2 SCC) Bulldogs traveled to Nokomis the next day and knocked off the Redskins, 11-6, prior to their Gillespie loss Apr. 14.
Bunker Hill (4-6) held off East Alton-Wood River, 6-5, Apr. 17 and halted a four-game slide.