Potters sweep Limestone
Morton had all the ingredients necessary to win a baseball game — lockdown pitching, clutch hitting and near-flawless defense — on April 13.
The Potters exploded for five runs in the fifth inning at Joe Griffith Field in Bartonville to defeat Limestone 6-0 in Mid-Illini Conference action.
“We have eight-nine guys that are all getting the job done right now,” MHS head coach Jesse Crawford said.
The pitching trio of Mitchell Smith, Braden Rassi and Jake Starkey held the Rockets to three singles.
Morton’s Noah Peterson and Kevin Smith combined to drive in five runs with two hits each from the fifth and sixth slots, respectively, in the order.
The first threat came in the bottom of the fourth inning when the first two Limestone hitters reached safely.
The Potters got a 4-6 fielder’s choice, but interference was called, registering a second out and sending the lead Rockets baserunner from third to second.
Smith picked up his final out of the evening on a groundout to shortstop. The winning hurler struck out three and walked none.
“What a season Mitchell Smith is having,” said Crawford of the senior righthander who carried a 1.88 ERA at night’s end.
Morton seized on the momentum shift in a big way in the top of the fifth, sending nine to the plate in breaking open the game.
With one out, Starkey got on via an infield hit before Ben Main induced a walk.
Jared Liddle was safe on a squibber down the first-base line and Starkey scored the first run on an
errant throw on the play.
After Limestone recorded the second out of the inning, clean-up hitter Dan Bolt was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Peterson made the Rockets pay with a bullet back through the middle for a two-run single.
“He’s been doing that,” said Crawford of Peterson. “He’s been our unsung hero behind those guys.”
The next batter, Smith, blistered a ball past the shortstop for another two-run hit to make it 5-0.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Rassi stranded a Limestone runner who was at second with no outs to keep the shutout intact.
Liddle singled to lead off the seventh and came home on a Peterson two-out RBI single to right field.
Five of the six Morton runs were produced with two outs in their first league win of the spring.
“That was a big win for us,” Crawford said. “We’ve got to duplicate that (April 15).”
MHS 15, Limestone 8
The Potters’ bats were hot as they completed a sweep of the Rockets on April 15.
Morton pounded 19 hits off the highly-regarded Limestone pitching staff, including 11 off starter Calvin Peacock in just 2 2/3 innings.
Collin Mormann was 4-for-5 with a triple, double and two RBIs. Bolt drove in three runs in a 3-for-3 outing.
Main, Liddle and Peterson all had two hits as the top five in the Potters’ line-up went a combined 13-for-20. Liddle, who doubled, had two RBIs and Main and Peterson one each.
Ryan Altenberger gave the lower half of the order a boost at Morton Community Baseball Stadium with a 3-for-4 performance that included a triple and three RBIs.
Kevin Smith knocked in two runs and Starkey had a double as Morton sent the reeling Rockets to a stunning 0-4 start in the league.
Starkey was charged with one hit in a three-inning relief stint to get credit for the win. He struck out one, walked one and yielded one run.
Adam Christianson worked the first three innings and Bradyn Thompson closed out the victory in the seventh.
Metamora 5, MHS 0
One day after getting the save at Washington, Will Boettcher whirled a three-hit home shutout for the Redbirds on Thursday.
Altenberger was 2-for-2 for Morton, which dropped to 2-2 in the conference, good for a fourth-place tie with Washington and Dunlap.
Trace King, Rassi and Starkey all threw two innings for the Potters. They combined for four strikeouts and a walk.
Up 2-0, league-leading Metamora scored three times in the bottom of the fifth to win the make-up contest.
MHS 4, Eureka 1
The Potters led from start to finish on Friday to surpass last year’s victory total.
Morton (14-2) scored in the top of the first inning, then added two runs in the fourth to sting the Hornets.
Main and Bobby Becker had two hits. Kevin Smith, who doubled, and Christianson plated runs.
Kevin Smith threw a four-inning shutout. In a hitless segment, he struck out three and walked two.
Jonah Rumbold and Mitchell Smith followed in relief, with the latter getting a save.