Thursday, March 23, 2017 - Updated: 9:15 AMNew Massac County High school Patriot head baseball coach Pat Clark has to like what he’s seen so far with the 2016-17 version of Patriot baseball.
While the program is obviously undergoing some “growing pains,” what with a new head coach and staff and Clark’s longtime association with the girls’ softball program at Massac, the product on the field looks very competitive so far.
Clark’s charges chalked up an 11-2 opening day win at Pope County under some brutal conditions to get things off on the right foot.
Junior Cole Patterson and the Patriot bullpen limited the Pirates to two runs as Clark searches for the right combination of arms to form his pitching staff.
The boys followed that win with a 9-3 win over Century. Nate Wetzel started on the hill for Massac in the Century win.
Saturday morning, Massac traveled north to Carmi’s Eckerle Field to take on Carmi-White County as senior SIU signee Noah Farmer made his first appearance on the mound for Massac. After a first inning hiccup, giving up three runs to Carmi, Farmer settled in and went five plus strong innings, giving way to Braeden Tilley and Noah Matesevac in the final two frames.
The heart of the Massac lineup flexed their collective muscle as Quinton Travis, senior SIU signee J.T. Weber, Farmer and Logan Forthman all had multi-hit games with at least one RBI. Forthman went 3 for 3 with an RBI to lead Massac to the 7-4 win.
Carrier Mills came calling next in a Monday afternoon game that was a tad late getting started as a spring thundershower rolled in just before game time.
For four plus innings, Massac’s Patterson and C-M junior righthander Billy Lewis were locked in a pitching duel. Patterson kept C-M’s bats quiet early while Lewis had to work out of a couple of early inning jams to keep the Pats at bay. That all changed in the bottom of the fifth. Travis lined out hard to left to lead things off. Weber shot one up the right-center gap that went for a double. Farmer singled Weber in to get Massac on the board. Wetzel put down a sacrifice bunt that Lewis fielded cleanly but his throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag and Massac was in business.
Forthman continued his torrid hitting as tripled to deep center plating Farmer and Wetzel. Patterson then grounded hard by the third baseman bringing home the fourth run of the inning in Forthman. Weber knocked in Jordan Parmer for Massac’s fifth run in the bottom of the sixth to round out Massac scoring.
Zachary Travis relieved Patterson in the sixth and kept C-M off the board. Matesevac followed Travis to the bump and gave up a pair of runs in the seventh but kept the 5-2 win in order. Patterson got the win for Massac holding C-M hitless through five while striking out seven.
Massac traveled to Marion Tuesday afternoon for an encounter with the Wildcats and the Pats suffered their first loss of the year as Marion posted a 7-1 win. Marion’s outstanding junior lefthander Hezekiah Goodman baffled Massac through five innings, allowing no hits while his teammates touched up Massac starter Wetzel for two runs in the first and two more in the second. Eli Windhorst and Braden Tilley followed Wetzel to the mound.
Clark had kind words for Tilley and his sixth inning work. Wetzel and Weber had Massac’s only hits. The win was the second for Goodman.