EDWARDSVILLE — Alton starting pitcher Jacob St. Peters was expecting to pitch two innings Tuesday. His performance warranted something different.
St. Peters threw 100 pitches in a complete game effort, leading his Redbirds past rival Edwardsville 4-1 at Tom Pile Field on Tuesday.
With the win Alton improved to 7-3 overall and 2-1 in the Southwestern Conference, while the Tigers slipped to 10-3 and 2-1 after the loss.
“I was feeling good out on the mound,” said St. Peters. “All my stuff was working for me. I was only supposed to throw two innings and I ended up throwing the whole game. It’s just ironic.
“After the second inning, (coach) told me to go out again and after that he said 'batter to batter, you never know when you’re going to get pulled, just do your best.' That’s what I did.”
St. Peters ended up tossing all seven innings, fanning 10 and walking just one while scattering five hits and surrendering one run.
“(We) kind of harnessed St. Peters from the summer time, and his arm slot was a lot better today,” Alton head coach Todd Haug said, referencing St. Peters' work as the ace of the Metro East Bears during the 2015 American Legion baseball season. “He was consistently ahead. He had multiple pitches going, and it’s a credit to him and the defense that played behind him.”
Edwardsville head coach Tim Funkhouser thought St. Peters threw well. He can be deceptive with his delivery, basically slinging the ball from behind his head and he did a good job of keeping the Tigers off balance on Tuesday.
“I think he gets some late movement and it could be it's hidden a little bit,” Funkhouser said. “He gets that late movement, but from our end we needed to be in hit mode and being able to attack the ball early on in at-bats and being able to lay off the balls that did move and with two strikes we struck out looking at times and had some flailing swings on some breaking pitches, which shows a lack of an approach.”
Funkhouser had no complaints about his pitcher. EHS starter Jake Garella threw five innings, fanning 10 and walking 2, while surrendering just two hits and allowing three runs, but none earned.
“It was a tough day to get a feel for your breaking pitch and he overcame that,” Funkhouser said. “The way he pitched, we needed to do better on our offensive end and the defensive end.”
Edwardsville was plagued with four errors in the field and the Redbirds took advantage of that.
They broke up a scoreless stalemate in the second when catcher Aaron Bonnell reached on an infield single. Bonnell's grounder toward first base brought about miscommunication as Garella and EHS first baseman Cole Hansel both went for the ball with no one was able to get to the bag in time to beat the Alton runner.
Matt McDonald entered as a courtesy runner, stealing second and later coming around to score on Edwardsville's second error of the game.
The Birds struck again in the fifth. Sam Ballard led off with a single and stole second before Noah Rathgeb walked to join him on the bases. A successful sacrifice by Ryan Boyd moved them to second and third and a throwing error on Derrick Allen's grounder allowed both Ballard and Rathgeb to score and elevate the Alton lead to 3-0.
The Redbirds' final tally came in the sixth when Jacob Kanallakan drew a leadoff walk and gave way to McDonald to pinch run. McDonald swiped second and then advanced to third and home on a pair of wild pitches, pushing the AHS lead to 4-0.
“It was an absolute team effort,” Haug said. “We didn’t have many base runners, but you have to make due with what you have.”
The Tigers finally broke through in the sixth. Collin Clayton smacked a one-out double into left center, moved to third on Garella's single and scored on Joel Quirin's sacrifice fly to center to cut it to 4-1.
That was all EHS could muster. St. Peters pointed to the bottom of the fourth as what he thought was the key point in his performance and the game.
After fanning Clayton to start the inning, St. Peters allowed consecutive singles to Garella and Quirin. Garella's courtesy runner, Andrew Yancik, moved to third and Quirin stole second to put runners in scoring position with one out, but St. Peters struck out Tyler Stamer and Cole Hansel looking to thwart the threat.
“I think that’s what shut the door,” St. Peters said. “We were all up after that. When they went down we were just ready to win. They’re our rivals, it feels good to beat them. Last year we didn’t have too much luck with that and now we’re ready. We’re feeling good.”
Funkhouser admits it's back to the drawing board for the Tigers, who need to polish their approach.
“Right now, we aren’t playing the game that well. We don’t think the game that well, and we don’t execute,” Funkhouser said. “We’re not making adjustments in the game, and we aren’t going to be that good until we do that.”
The Redbirds are back in action at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday at Waterloo before delving back in SWC play at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Granite City. Edwardsville is idle until 4:30 p.m. Thursday when it travels to conference foe Belleville West.
ALTON 4, EDWARDSVILLE 1
Redbirds 010 023 0 — 4 2 0
Tigers 000 001 0 — 1 5 4
Alton (7-3, 2-1) — Derrick Allen 0-3 BB, Jacob Kanallakan 0-2 BB, Aaron Bonnell 1-3, Sam Ballard 1-3, Noah Rathgeb 0-2 BB.
WP — Jacob St. Peters 7.0IP 5H 1R 1ER 1BB 10K
Edwardsville (10-3, 2-1) — Dylan Burris 1-3, Collin Clayton 1-3 2B, Jake Garella 2-2 BB, Joel Quirin 1-2 SAC RBI.
LP — Garella 5.0IP 2H 3R 0ER 2BB 10K
Andrew Yancik 2.0IP 0H 1R 1ER 1BB 0K