GODFREY — The Highland Bulldogs encountered a hot-hitting Alton Redbirds baseball team in Friday afternoon’s non-conference contest in Godfrey.
The Redbirds banged out 10 hits to Highland’s four in the 8-3 win. But Alton’s defense also turned in an errorless effort and starting pitcher Jacob St. Peters proved to be a factor. St. Peters worked 6.2 innings for the Redbirds. He struck out four, walked three and gave up just two hits and no runs.
“Offensively, we’re clicking very well,” Alton coach Todd Haug said. “Tonight I thought we played some tremendous defense and I thought we got a tremendous effort on the mound from St. Peters. When you can score one run here and one run there, then all of the sudden it starts to feel like a touchdown.”
Charlie Erler relieved St. Peters in the sixth, as St. Peters suffered an injury. Highland’s Will Greenwald hit the ball to the pitcher’s mound and the ball struck St. Peters’ armpit. Haug said St Peters should return after a five-day rest.
“I think he’ll tell you that he wasn’t as sharp as some instances,” Haug said of St. Peters. “But he made the pitches when he needed to. It’s the sign of a veteran varsity hurler, but he also had a tremendous defense behind him. We got a couple of key plays from our infielders, we got a tremendous play from (Jacob) Kanallakan at third base.”
The Bulldogs’ defense struggled at different times in the contest. Alton’s Noah Rathgeb, who went 3-for-4 at the plate in the contest, scored Alton’s first run in the first inning, as he ran home from third after a wild pitch from Highland’s Mike McGill. Rathgeb’s one-run single in the second made the score 2-0 Redbirds. Alton scored its third run in the fourth inning behind a one-run single from Steven Pattan.
“Our starting pitching was strong,” Highland coach Joel Hawkins said. “I also thought there guy (St. Peters) did a good job, he mixed his pitches up really well. Their third baseman (Kanallakan) is terrific. He caught a line drive and made a diving play. He’s very athletic.”
The Redbirds tacked on two more runs in the fifth. Rathgeb led off the inning with a triple and came home to score the Redbirds’ fourth run when Robbie Taul singled into right field. Right fielder Stephen Nguyen’s one-run single made the score 5-0.
The Redbirds continued the offensive onslaught and scored two more runs in the sixth. A wild pitch from Highland pitcher Jake Ramsey, who relieved McGill in the fifth, allowed the Redbirds' Derrick Allen to score their sixth run and a bawk called on Ramsey sent Pattan home from third to make the score 7-0 Redbirds. Taul’s one-run double made the score 8-0 Alton.
Highland surged a bit in the seventh inning. It scored its first run behind a one-run single from Jordan Smith. Sam Greene’s two-run blast over the left-field fence cut the score to 8-3 Alton.
The Redbirds improve to 15-5 with the win. Highland drops to 7-9 with the loss.