The O’Fallon Varsity Baseball Panthers began their season with the Prep Baseball Report’s Kickoff Classic. Competing in three games in as many days, the team was able to begin their season 2-1.
Game one took place Thursday evening at GCS Stadium in Sauget and O’Fallon threw a shut out against Chatham Glenwood. Junior pitchers Hayden Juenger and Logan Boente allowed only three hits for Chatham, and their success came as no surprise to Head Coach Jason Portz. Portz said before the season that he believed Juenger and Boente would be critical for O’Fallon in the regular season and in the 2017 conference. Juenger threw six strikeouts and allowed two hits, and Boente came in as the relief, allowing one hit and forcing the game ending groundout play.
Junior Jacob Dreyer was the top hitter of the evening, having two hits and driving in the winning run in the 7th inning. Senior Christian Koechner scored on Dreyer’s RBI, having stolen second base as a pinch runner after replacing senior Joe Guithes at first after a walk. The Panthers were otherwise unable to get much going as far as hitting, relying on pitching and defense to hold onto the lead and win the game.
Game two took place at home at O’Fallon’s Blazier Field against Moline, and the Panthers dominated in a 9-0 shutout win. Junior Brayden Arnold played a well rounded game including five strikeouts with 11 first pitch strikes, holding Moline to six scoreless innings and getting two hits, one which led to Arnold scoring on a double in the fifth inning.
The fifth inning saw the Panther’s bats come alive. Senior catcher Chase Hackstadt also had two hits including a double in the fifth, and Dreyer kept up his batting hot streak with three RBI’s off of two hits.
Junior Quinn Lowery also had two hits and closed out the game as Arnold’s relief pitcher.
O’Fallon headed into game three against Joliet Catholic 2-0, but would not win a third time. Back at GCS Stadium, the Panthers fell to the Hilltoppers 1-11. Joliet scored seven runs in the first inning and O’Fallon’s only response was a fourth inning RBI by Hackstadt.
The Varsity Baseball Panthers will look to return to winning at their next game against Columbia and hope to do well next weekend as they travel to Georgia for four games in the Louisville Slugger Select Classic. Their next home games will be a double header at Blazier field, first playing Harlem at 10:00 a.m. and then playing a 3:00 p.m. game against Chaminade.