Carlinville rebounds from Gillespie loss, remains in title race
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Colton Bultema blooped a single down the left field line to score perhaps the conference-clinching run in Luke Shuckenbrock for the Gillespie High School baseball team May 1.
After having to wait an entire week to finish an extended game that was paused due to lack of lighting, the Miners finally overcame Southwestern in the bottom of the 12th inning and kept their undefeated season alive at 21-0. Gillespie had also defeated Piasa in a non-conference dual, 9-1, Apr. 29.
Bultema, mainly known for his dominance as a relief pitcher for the Miners, was only batting .087 on the season prior to his walkoff hit. The Blackburn College commit also kept Southwestern at bay with five scoreless frames on the mound while the Miners erased a 3-1 deficit and re-established a draw in the bottom of the sixth.
Bryce Buhs tossed two shutdown frames to pick up the pitching victory on day two.
In the bottom of the 12th, Schuckenbrock lit the lamp by sparking a line drive into a gusty breeze that was blowing towards the outfield. The freshman legged out a triple to set up Bultema’s heroic moment.
This wasn’t the only dramatic home victory for Gillespie as of late. The Miners additionally found themselves in a tight contest with Carlinville Apr. 25. The visiting Cavaliers nearly rallied after trailing by three heading into the last inning, but Bryan Jubelt made a tough running catch to rob an equalizing hit and seal a 6-5 triumph.
After a two-day gamebreak, Gillespie rolled to an 11-0 conference win at Pana Apr. 28.
Heading into the month of May, Gillespie was ranked No. 7 in the Illinois High School Association Class 2A poll. Postseason pairings have yet to be officially announced, but the Miners do know that they will be headed to either Piasa or Sullivan as a top seed in the Pleasant Plains sub-sectional.
Gillespie only needs one win against either Hillsboro or Greenville later this month to clinch the conference championship.
Carlinville, which has never won the South Central in baseball, remains in contention following two dominant league victories at home. The Cavaliers buried Southwestern, 11-1, in a pivotal match Apr. 28 then crushed Vandalia 13-0, May 1.
Carlinville, anticipated by many to be a No. 2 seed, is 15-2 on the season with a 6-1 conference record.
Southwestern is 16-10 overall and 5-2 in the SCC. The Piasa Birds picked up a 6-5 conference win over North Mac (12-3 overall; 4-2 SCC) in eight frames Apr. 25.
Staunton (9-10 overall; 2-4 SCC) ended a three-game conference skid with a convicing 16-4 win at Hillsboro Apr. 25. The Bulldogs returned home and lost to Marquette 11-6 Apr. 29.
Bunker Hill handled business against Maryville Christian and improved to 8-10 on the season with a 13-3 conference victory Apr. 27. The Minutemen are 3-5 in Gateway Metro action.