BELLEVILLE — Roxana’s Shells made a single run work for a shutout win over East Alton-Wood River on Monday.
They weren’t as fortunate scoring just once against Belleville Althoff on Wednesday.
The Crusaders eliminated the Shells, 3-1, in a semifinal baseball game of the Class 2A Althoff Regional at Whitey Herzog Field.
The Shells bowed out at 15-18, while 16-13 Althoff advanced to Saturday’s regional championship game against Trenton Wesclin, a 3-0 winner over Staunton.
“We gave them two of their three runs, so this one is a little tough to swallow,” Roxana coach Scott Harper said.
Althoff scored one run on a wild pitch and a Roxana throwing error allowed another runner to score. Roxana scored its run on a wild pitch.
Curiously, all the scoring came in the first two innings. The Crusaders led 2-0 after the first inning and 3-1 following two innings. It was shutout ball the rest of the way, thanks mainly to Althoff pitcher Jack Frazier.
The senior right-hander spun a three-hitter and pitched around five walks, including three in the third inning.
“He really did a good job,” said Althoff coach Randy Wells, a former pitcher for the Chicago Cubs from 2008-12. “He kind of pitched timid early on, but then we talked to him about keep pitching to contact and he did that. It was a gutsy performance.”
Harper noted, “He (Frazier) settled in after a while. Both pitchers were a little erratic at the start of the game.”
Sophomore Logan Presley, the Shells’ starter, lasted only two innings. He was charged with two hits and all three runs, two of them earned. Reliever Sam Mosby then pitched four shutout innings to keep the Shells within striking distance of the Crusaders.
“It was a tough spot for a sophomore,” Harper said of Presley, “but both he and Sam have thrown well this season. Sam came in today, threw some strikes and he was a change of pace for them.”
Singles by Trace Gentry and Austin Presley, Zach Golenor’s sacrifice bunt and a Frazier wild pitch gave the Shells their lone run in the second. They loaded the bases with two outs in the third, but Frazier wriggled out of trouble. Roxana also stranded two more runners in the fifth, the last inning the Shells managed a hit.
“We knew we had a chance against them, we competed and we had plenty of opportunities,” Harper said. “Tanner Davis threw a great game Monday against EA-WR to get us here.”
Rorey Keen spurred Althoff’s six-hit attack by going 2-for-3, including a run-scoring single in the first inning. Teammate Trey Mosley went 2-for-3 and his first single set up the Crusaders’ third run. Althoff also swiped three bases.
“We’ve been struggling to score runs all year,” Wells said.
He figures the Crusaders will need to be at their best in battling Wesclin for the regional title.
“We know what’s at stake and I feel good about our chances,” he said. “It’ll come down to our hitting. The season is on the lone, so we have to be ready to play.”
Harper, meanwhile, bid farewell to eight seniors, including Chance Foss (Southwestern Illinois College), Blake Vandiver (Lewis and Clark Community College) and Gentry (Lincoln Land Community College for basketball).
“Foss and Vandiver will go down as two of the top players in Roxana baseball history,” Harper said. “Gentry was a good addition this year and everybody from our senior class played a role for us.”
CLASS 2A BELLEVILLE ALTHOFF REGIONAL
ALTHOFF 3, ROXANA 1
Roxana 010 000 0 – 1 3 2
Althoff 210 000 X – 3 6 0
Roxana (15-18) – Trace Gentry 1-3, Austin Presley 1-3, Billy Mathis 1-3. LP – Logan Presley IP-2 H-2 R-3 ER-2 BB-3 K-0; Sam Mosby IP-4 H-4 R-0 BB-1 K-0;
Althoff (16-13) – Jack Toenjes 1-2, Rorey Keen 2-3 RBI, Steven Toenjes 1-3, Trey Mosley 2-3. WP – Jake Fraizer IP-7 H-3 R-1 ER-1 BB-5 K-2