Carterville Starts Season With Blowout of Eldorado

Carterville Starts Season With Blowout of Eldorado

Chris Clover, Sports Reporter

CARTERVILLE  – Thanks to excellent pitching from all three Carterville pitchers, and great plate discipline, the Lions started their season off hot, and full of energy with a 9-1 win over Eldorado. 

James Cravens, the winning pitcher, posted a tremendous stat line of four innings pitched, six strikeouts, and only one hit and one run allowed. 

The Lions started the game off with a 3-0 lead after the first inning, thanks in part to JD Dawson getting the first run of the game off a stolen base, which left to him scoring on a passed ball by the Eldorado catcher. The next run would come shortly after when Peyton Bittle scored on a wild pitch. Drew Pestka rounded out the scoring, sliding into home for the third run of the inning. 

The one hit that Cravens allowed was Eldorado’s only hit of the game, and the Eagles struggled the entire afternoon on both sides of the ball. They had a total of three errors, two of which resulted in a run for the Lions. 

The Lions were ahead 4-0 going into the 4th inning, yet remained hitless. Dawson and Bittle finally broke open the offense with back-to-back knocks, but were stranded on base to end the inning.. 

After 4 innings of play and Cravens’ pitch count totaling up to 54, he was relieved in the fifth by the shortstop, Bittle. This move cued a few changes on the defensive front. The Lions were up 4-1 at this point and it seemed like new head coach Nathan Bittle wanted to try some things out. Right fielder, Adam Vanderzille moved to left field, Braden Wakey came off the bench into right field, left fielder, Dawson, moved to center field, second baseman Brandon Skeltcher moved to short stop, and center fielder Blake Barnard moved to second base. 

The 6th inning proved to be a huge one in favor of Carterville. Dawson led off with a single into left field, and would end up scoring following an error by Eagle’s pitcher. This improved the score to 5-1.

Bittle was the first out of the inning, with a flyout to left field, but Pestka picked up his pitcher with a double down the left field line. He would later come in to score, drawing it up to 6-1. 

Next to the plate was first baseman, Elijah Keim, who hit a single. He and Cade Bolin came to score thanks in part to a fumble of the ball by the shortstop, making the score 8-1. 

 Wakey made his first at bat after being substituted for Cravens. He walked to first, and scored after a pair of wild pitches, plating the ninth and final run. 

The last inning was a quick one, and the Lions took advantage of using one more pitcher: starting center fielder, Barnard. The junior had two strikeouts, but his calf started cramping up with two outs. Despite this, Barnard closed the door on the Eagles.

The start to the season was a good one, and the Lions will try to keep the undefeated status on Saturday when they play a double header at John A. Logan College, against Monticello and Murphysboro. To stay updated on Carterville sports follow Carterville Athletics on Instagram and Twitter.


Image provided by Nevaeh McClellan