GIBSON CITY -- Something had to give as the Tremont and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley baseball teams faced off on Wednesday.
Both teams went into the game with undefeated records. With a 10-3 win over GCMS, which fell to 5-1 with the loss, the Turks' unbeaten mark remains intact at 7-0.
“We knew going in this was going to be a marquee matchup for the (Heart of Illinois Conference)," GCMS head coach Dustin White said. "I didn’t think we played bad baseball today – they just outplayed us.”
Braden Roesch took the loss on the mound for the Falcons, allowing six runs -- five earned -- on six hits and no walks with two strikeouts through 3 1/3 innings.
Silas Israel picked up the win for Tremont, striking out nine batters and walking none while allowing no runs on three hits. Both pitchers started for their respective teams.
“I thought both pitchers threw the ball well," White said.
Ryan Wagenbach and Marco Falcon started the game with singles to right and center field, respectively, for the Turks in the top of the first inning. Israel then got on base with an infield single to the GCMS shortstop, Josh Nuss, on which Wagenbach -- who advanced to second base on an erroneous throw by Roesch prior to Falcon's base hit -- scored the game's first run.
“Whether it was an error or a passed ball or something, when we let that guy move to second (base), it takes all the double-play chances out," White said. "That’s something we’ve got to work on and get better at.”
Jake Burge singled to center field to send Trey Hinman across home plate to extend Tremont's lead to 2-0.
Nate Nguyen was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Landon Pflederer popped out in foul territory to the first-baseman Cade Elliott, David Smith struck out swinging and Isaac Lennington grounded into a fielder's choice as Roesch threw to his catcher, Nathan Daughenbaugh, to force Israel out at home plate.
In the top of the second inning, Blake Bolliger led off with a single to center field and, after Bolliger stole second base, Wagenbach lined a base hit to center field. Wagenbach advanced to second base on the hit via an error by center-fielder Nathan Garard that resulted in Bolliger scoring on the same error. After Wagenbach stole third base, he scored on an Israel groundout.
In the top of the fourth inning, Falcon singled to left field. After his courtesy runner, Hinman, advanced to second base on a throwing error by Roesch and advanced to third base on a wild pitch, Israel sent him home via a groundout.
In the next at-bat, Jake Burge belted a solo home run past the center-field fence to extend Tremont's lead to 6-0.
Following the homer, Daniel Jones replaced Roesch on the mound.
Jones allowed no runs on no hits and no walks with one strikeout through 1 2/3 innings of relief.
“Braden’s statline probably doesn’t look great, but he didn’t throw the ball too badly," White said. "He was just a little overanxious early on and tried to do too much. We made a couple of errors behind him, and he didn’t help himself.”
Israel's outing on the mound, meanwhile, ended after 4 1/3 innings and 75 pitches.
“We’ve got to have a little better effort early on offensively," White said. "I think there were too many times when we took too many strikes.”
Israel was relieved by Nguyen after forcing Roesch to ground out to the shortstop Wagenbach for the first out of the bottom of the fifth inning.
Josh Nuss was hit by a pitch and Ethan Garard and Jones each drew a walk to load the bases before Layne Harden doubled to center field to send Nuss and Garard across home plate. Jones was tagged out at home on the hit.
After Nathan Garard drew a walk, Wade Burton singled to right field to send Harden across home plate to cut GCMS's deficit to 6-3.
“With this age of pitch-count watching, if we could have gotten (Israel) out of the game another inning earlier, maybe the score of the game’s a little bit different, a little closer. We had a lot better swings off the second and third guys they had coming out of the bullpen. That’s just something we’ve got to be a little more conscious of – finding a way to foul off some pitches off," White said.
Nguyen allowed three earned runs on four hits and three walks with one strikeout through 1 1/3 innings. Bolliger allowed no runs on no hits and no walks through 1 1/3 innings.
"Instead of seeing three or four pitches in an at-bat, if we can crank that up to five or six over the course of two or three innings, that becomes a big deal. That’s kind of what they did to us a little bit – even in the outs that we got, they battled and fought some pitches off," White said.
"They created a long at-bat, and then that brought Braden’s pitch count up a little bit. Those are all things that, as the course of the season goes on, we’ll improve and get better at.”
With Harden on the mound, Tremont scored four more runs in the sixth inning.
Wagenbach and Falcon each singled to center field before Israel smacked a three-run homer past the center-field fence. Burge singled to center field before David Smith sent him home with an infield base hit.
Harden finished his outing on the mound allowing four earned runs on five hits and no walks. Burton allowed no runs on no hits and no walks with one strikeout through the top of the seventh inning.
At the plate, Harden finished the game hitting 2-for-3.
After playing at LeRoy on Friday and hosting a doubleheader against Watseka on Saturday, GCMS will travel to face Lexington the following Wednesday and Westville the next Thursday before hosting El Paso-Gridley on Friday, April 12, and Ridgeview on Monday, April 15, and traveling to Prairie Central on Tuesday, April 16.
“This isn’t the end of the world," White said. "We found some things we need to work on and get better at, and we will.”
Tremont 10, GCMS 3
TREM 220 204 0 -- 10 14 0
GCMS 000 030 0 -- 3 7 4
W -- Silas Israel, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9 K, 0 BB. L -- Braden Roesch, 3.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 K, 0 BB.
Tremont (7-0) -- Ryan Wagenbach 3-5, 3 R. Marco Falcon 3-5, R. Silas Israel 2-4, HR, 6 RBIs, R. Jake Burge 3-4, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 R. David Smith 1-4, RBI. Blake Bolliger 2-4, R. Trey Hinman 2 R.
GCMS (5-1) -- Daniel Jones 1-3. Layne Harden 2-3, 2B, 2 RBIs, R. Wade Burton 1-4, RBI. Braden Roesch 1-3. Josh Nuss 1-2, R. Ethan Garard 1-2, R.