Panthers clench SWC championship

BY RICH HULL
O'Fallon Weekly Sports
OTHS Baseball

Hayden Schaefer, number 25, drives the ball deep to center to bring in two runs during the first inning against Granite City.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Rich Hull)

The O’Fallon Varsity Baseball team won the SWC Championship this week with convincing wins over Edwardsville and Granite City.

The Panthers sent their ace, Bradley Harrison to the mound to face Edwardsville and their 11-game win streak, last week Tuesday. Harrison gave the host Tigers a glimmer of hope as he struggled in the first inning before settling down to complete the 11 – 0 shutout with 10 strike outs and two walks. The win improves his record to 10-0 and lowers his ERA to 0.21.

O’Fallon scored two in the first inning and was held at bay until they were able to break the game open the fifth inning with five runs, followed by four in the sixth.

OTHS Baseball

Junior Joe Guithues slides into home against Granite City.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Becca Jones-Scales)

“The score doesn’t indicate it; but, they (Edwardsville) are a really good team,” said Varsity Head Coach Jason Portz. “Bradley got out of some jams early and got some help from his defense behind him.” Harrison helped himself by going 3-4 with a triple and 2 RBIs to lead the Panthers’ offense.

O’Fallon needed to beat Granite City at home on Thursday to assure them a share of the SWC Championship for the sixth time in the past seven years.

The Panthers scored all 11 runs in the first three innings to put the game out of reach quickly. Max Schaefer pitched another gem going the distance, giving up only one hit and no walks and struck out two. He also pitched two perfect innings along the way to improving to 8 – 1 on the season.

They put some icing on the Championship cake with a 8 – 1 win over host Collinsville on Friday night. The win gave the Panthers the outright SWC Championship.

OTHS Baseball

Senior Dillon Weiss takes a swing during Thursday’s game against Granite City. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Becca Jones-Scales)

Logan Boente improved his record to 5 – 1 as he went the distance. He allowed only one earned run on three hits. Hayden Schaefer was perfect at the plate, going 3 – 3 including a double that scored the first two runs in the second inning.

The Panthers (28 -3, 12-1) will play again on Tuesday and Thursday, when the host neighboring Belleville West and Waterloo. They will travel to Centralia on Friday and Triad on Saturday.