ROXANA — Dupo head coach Brad Daubach called Logan Reardon “the best pitcher we've seen all year,” Tuesday at Roxana. Unfortunately that wasn't enough, as the Shells lost 3-0 to the Tigers in a play-in game of the Class 1A Dupo Regional.
The Roxana offense was unable to muster anything against Dupo, seeing its season end at 12-15. The Tigers, 11-13, now earn a date with the regional's top seed, Belleville Althoff, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Dupo.
It was a hard one to swallow for the Shells, who stranded 10 runners on base while watching Reardon go the distance, striking out eight — five looking — walking just one and scattering seven hits on 113 pitches.
“He's a warrior, he wants the ball and he wants to pitch,” first-year Roxana head coach Scott Harper said of Reardon. “He's had a great career and it's a shame that it ends up like this. For his senior year he was getting all the top assignments for us. He's a warrior and out there giving everything he's got. That's why he's getting an opportunity to go on and play at the next level (Lincoln Land Community College).”
Daubach was ecstatic to see his team keep their dreams alive and get a chance to return home to Dupo. He knew it was not an easy task with Reardon throwing darts on the mound.
“I thought Reardon was the best pitcher we've seen all year,” Daubach said. “He had really good stuff. His fastball was really good and his slider, that's a good pitch.”
But on the other side, Dupo starter Jordan Prange was impressive, too. Prange worked six innings, fanning five and walking five while only surrendering two hits on 104 pitches. Taylor Stanek came on in the seventh and locked down the save for the Tigers.
“From the first pitch he didn't have his best stuff, but there in the second he battled through that bases loaded situation and he just kept the ball down, had them off their toes a little bit and got some key fly balls,” Daubach said. “We had some really good defense behind him.”
The Shells had their opportunities, but just couldn't capitalize. In the first Chance Foss coaxed a leadoff walk but was stranded at third and then in the second Roxana loaded the bases to no avail. Adam Moore and Tanner Davis walked and Joe Ingram recorded the first hit of the game to stuff the bags with Shells, but they were unable to score. They also got runners to third in the fourth and seventh only to come up short.
Harper admitted that the lack of stringing together key hits in crucial situations was something that plagued Roxana all season.
“Today just kind of continued to be the way we played the game this year,” Harper said. “Runs were hard to come by at times and then we had some big scoring games sometimes, but just staying consistently on top of things and being able to come through with the big hit sometimes was difficult.”
Dupo came through with some big hits in the fourth. Prange helped himself out with a one-out double to right field and first baseman Drake Harvell provided the biggest bang of the game, whacking a home run to right field to construct a 2-0 lead for the Tigers.
“It was a fastball outside and my last at-bat I had been way late which got me to strikeout, but I just waited on it and took it opposite field and I didn't even realize I hit it that hard,” Harvell said. “It just kept carrying.
“(Reardon) was a very good pitcher. He knew where he was throwing and every pitch he threw was very, very hard. I think that's why everybody was struggling, because we really hadn't seen anybody that good before.”
While the homer seemed to immediately inflate Dupo, it quickly deflated the Shells.
“Anytime you score a run in a game like that, we knew runs were going to be hard to come by and then not only do you score a run, but you hit one out of the yard. One run is hard enough to overcome, but then it was two and tacking on the third one, it does make it tough, but we continued to compete,” Harper said. “We hit some balls hard too, we just didn't get ours up in the jet stream a little bit there to get any results out of it. We just couldn't find a hit.”
A Roxana error in the fifth led to the other run for the Tigers. Austin Francis drove in the run.
The win got Dupo back on their home turf in the regional. That was a motivating factor in Monday's win over the Shells.
“I really think we're going to play a lot better now that we're going to play at home,” Harvell said. “I'm real excited. We're playing real good ball and we're looking to keep it going.”
Unfortunately for the Shells, they were unable to keep it going. Harper was pleased with how his team responded in his first year as the coach. A Roxana graduate, Harper came to the Shells with previous head coaching experience from Alton. He thought his seniors were especially responsive to his arrival.
Roxana now says goodbye to six seniors, Reardon, Ingram, Seth Chester, Josh Rudd, Randy Skiff and Andrew Webb.
“For the program, it's hard your senior year to come in and have a coaching change, but they did everything I asked and I appreciate it,” Harper said. “A great bunch of guys and being able to just work and compete is all we can ask and they did that throughout the year.”
2A DUPO REGIONAL
DUPO 3, ROXANA 0
Dupo 000 210 0 — 3 7 1
Roxana 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
ROXANA (12-15) — Chance Foss 1-3 BB, Logan Reardon 1-3 BB, Randy Skiff 0-2 BB, Adam Moore 0-2 BB, Tanner Davis 1-2 BB, Joe Ingram 1-3.
LP — Reardon 7.0IP 7H 3R 2ER 1BB 8K
DUPO (11-13) — Collin Roth 1-4, Austin Francis 2-4 RBI, Joey Mirabal 0-3 BB, Jordan Prange 1-3 2B, Drake Harvell 2-3 HR 2 RBIs, Lohnnie Thornton 0-2 SAC, Taylor Stanek 1-3.
WP — Prange 6.0IP 2H 0R 0ER 5BB 5K
SV — Stanek 1.0IP 2K 0R 0ER 0BB 1K