By PHIL JOHNSON
For The Weekly Post
BRIMFIELD – A fast start boosted the Brimfield-Elmwood baseball team to its ninth regional title last Friday.
The Indians (29-2) bolted to a 7-0 lead after two innings vs. Midwest Central in the Class 2A Brimfield Regional finale and held on for a 10-5 victory.
Indians starting pitcher Frank Kelch, who had his usual high number of strikeouts, ran into some control problems in the top of the third and was relieved by Michael Seibert, who helped to fend off a comeback.
Kelch’s line was 2.2 innings pitched, three earned runs, four hits, seven strikeouts and five free passes. Seibert concluded with 4.1 innings pitched, two hits allowed, two earned runs, six punchouts and two walks.
The 10 runs scored for B-E were helped by a double and three RBI from Kelch, three RBI by Jude Strahm and two RBI from Cam Blodgett.
“Frank helped with his strikeouts of their hitters, but his command problems were starting to build, and we were concerned Midwest Central was about to have a very big inning,” B-E Coach Brandon Porter said. “Michael restored order for us on the mound.”
To reach the title game, the Indians downed Farmington 5-0 on May 18. Austin Baysingar stifled the Farmers with a complete game of 10 strikeouts, just two hits and three walks allowed.
“Austin was dealing out there,” Porter said. “Our defense was consistently good all day.”
Kelch paced the offense with a home run and two RBI. Kyle Binder rapped a double and an RBI and Strahm drove in a run, while Brady Johnson and Cam Blodgett each hit safely.
“Frank really crushed that home run,” Porter said.
Next up for the Indians is a sectional semifinal today, May 26, in Knoxville at 4:30 p.m. against Prophetstown. Prophetstown defeated Bureau Valley, 5-2, to win the Princeton Regional.
Sherrard was to play Chillicothe IVC on Wednesday in the other semifinal.
Farmington (14-13) lost in the regional semifinals to B-E, 5-0, on May 18. B-E pitching was too much for the Farmers, who had two hits.
Lane Wheelwright pitched 3.2 frames for FHS, yielding just two hits, two walks and striking out two. He was relieved by Kyle Litchfield (1.1 innings, one hit, one strikeout and one walk) and Zach Austin (one inning, two hits and one walk.
Riley Embry’s double and Ethan Evans’ single were the two FHS hits.
The Cougars (12-15) ended 2022 with a hard-fought 8-6 setback to Ilini Bluffs Monday in the Class 1A Princeville Regional championship game.
Down 5-0 after two innings, the Cougars scored three in the third, then gave up three in the fourth. R-W battled again with one in the sixth and two in their last at bat, but it wasn’t enough. Five team errors were a major obstacle.
“The boys showed a lot of fight and toughness at the plate and on the mound today. We just didn’t make enough plays in the field,” R-W coach Mike Weitekamp said.
Logan Kuberski pitched to three earned runs, seven hits, four walks and six strikeouts.
Cade Farquer and Parker Sornberger each drove in two runs. Bryan Bertlshofer and Jake McGarry each hit safely twice.
The Cougars knocked top seed Peoria Christian out of the semifinals on May 18, 4-2. All four R-W runs came in the fifth inning.
The Cougars defense and Kuberski’s pitching (complete game, six strikeouts, three hits) made the four runs stand up.
Kuberski also contributed to the offense, going 2- for-4 with two RBI. Graham Wight hit 1-for-3 and drove in two. Bertlshofer, Sornberger and Lance Trotter each had hits.
“We played one of our best games of the season, and it was very timely for that performance. Kuberski pounded the strike zone, and the defense made the plays behind him, only one error,” Weitekamp said. “Lewis Sams and Farquer combined for a huge play from shortstop to first to stop a big Peoria Christian inning.
“Trotter, Sornberger and Dylan Tucker did a very good job of getting on base in the top of the fifth, then the top of the order executed with key two out hits from Kuberski and Wight,” Weitekamp said. “We’re very proud of this group and their performance.”
By PHIL JOHNSON