MONTICELLO – Chris Jones offered an estimate for one specific weather condition that encompassed Wednesday’s game between his Monticello baseball team and host Salt Fork.
“I can’t think of a game I’ve played 26 miles an hour blowing out,” Jones said. “It could’ve gusted more.”
Wind was the order of the afternoon outside Salt Fork South Elementary and Junior High School.
And the Sages relished the chance to hit in it.
Monticello clubbed six home runs, including two apiece from junior Luke Teschke and sophomore Colton Vance, on its way to a 25-9 win against Salt Fork in six innings of nonconference action.
“They had fun. They had smiles on their faces,” Jones said. “That’s the great thing about this group. We took two hard losses ... and then we turn around and come out and don’t let it affect us.
“They were loose before we started this game, and obviously we played that way all the way through.”
Those two defeats Jones mentioned occurred in the Sages’ last two games, which they dropped 9-8 to Williamsville on Saturday and 4-3 to Maroa-Forsyth on Monday.
“To get back out here and put up quite a bit of runs on the board is always fun,” said Teschke, an Illinois State baseball commit. “It’s not easy at all with the wind. It’s hard. Usually you don’t play in weather like this. ... But hitting, you get it in the air, it can go a long ways.”
Pretty much any ball lofted into the sky by either the Sages (11-3) or Storm (11-5) was cause for concern.
Both offenses were dialed in, too, taking plenty of pitches and forcing those throwing the ball to deal strikes. Monticello finished with 10 walks and two hit batsmen, while Salt Fork drew four free passes and two hit batters.
The Sages got things going with a three-run top of the first inning in which they didn’t record a hit, instead coaxing three bases-loaded walks from Storm junior starter Hayden Chew.
Salt Fork replied with a three-run homer from senior Derrek Richards, a bomb to straightaway center field off Monticello sophomore starter Ike Young.
The Sages scored 10 times in the top of the second, paced by a Teschke two-run homer, a two-run double from senior Kyle Peake and a Vance two-run single.
“We’ve scored a majority of our runs probably in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings on the season,” Jones said. “So we’re learning how to start it earlier on offense right now. That’s something that we’re really buying in to.”
Kickstarting that 10-run barrage was senior leadoff hitter Biniam Lienhart. The 5-foot-6 soccer star cracked a line-drive homer to left field that made the score 4-3.
“When we see our leadoff man who’s usually hitting singles and stealing bases, and then (Wednesday) he goes yard,” Teschke said, “it’s always a good sign for the offense.”
Vance slugged his first of two homers, a solo shot, during the third inning. Junior Raiden Colbert notched a longball of his own out of Monticello’s No. 9 spot during a two-run fifth frame.
Then Teschke and Vance blasted their second dingers of the day amid the Sages’ seven-run sixth inning. Teschke’s brought home two teammates.
“I was just looking for a fastball in my sweet spot, and I got it a little up in the zone,” Teschke said. “I just tried to put a good barrel on it, and the wind took it.”
Teschke finished with four hits and six RBI for Monticello, landing a triple short of the cycle.
He, Lienhart and senior Spencer Mitze each scored five runs, Vance wound up with five RBI on three hits, and Peake drove in three runs off Storm pitchers Chew, senior Blake Hettmansberger and freshman Braxton Clem.
Maroa-Forsyth 4, Monticello 3. By an identical score to these teams’ Class 2A super-sectional matchup last year, the Trojans knocked off the visiting Sages in a nonconference tilt Monday. Jacob Trusner and Kyle Peake each drove in one run for Monticello (10-3), which suffered its second one-run loss in three days. Logan Chupp offered two hits for the Sages, whose Jack Buckalew struck out four batters in four innings pitched.
Monticello snapped a two-game loss streak and improved to 11-3 overall with a25-6 rout of Salt Fork in Catlin on Wednesday.
Luke Teschke and Colton Vance each hit two home runs. Biniam Lienhart and Raiden Colbert each had one. Teschke had six RBIs and had four hits in five at-bats for the Sages. Peake tripled and had three RBIs.
Paxton-Buckley-Loda 8, Monticello 3. Paxton-Buckley-Loda jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning and never trailed in securing a solid Illini Prairie Conference road win. Colton Vance went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI for Monticello (11-4).
Monticello 8, Meridian 0. This marks not only the fifth consecutive win for the visiting Sages (9-3-2), but also the fifth consecutive match in which they’ve shut out the opposition. Allison Nebelsick made two keeper saves to achieve the feat in this nonconference bout. Addison Finet potted five goals to front Monticello’s attack. Violet Bailey tallied two goals, Elle Bodznick finished with one goal and three assists, and Margo Cassel also assisted on three goals.
Monticello 1, Bloomington Central Catholic 1. Monticello gave up the go-ahead goal to Bloomington Central Catholic 17 minutes into the second half of Wednesday’s Illini Prairie Conference match, but Elle Bodznick delivered the tying goal off a free kick to salvage the tie. Goalkeeper Allison Nebelsick made six saves for the Sages (9-3-3).
Monticello 3, Peoria Christian 0. Monticello reached double-digit wins in a season for only the second time in program history after a nonconference road victory. Addison Finet scored two goals to lead the Sages (10-3-3).
Westville 4, Monticello 3. A pitchers’ duel that took 11 innings to settle tilted in favor of Westville (14-1), which earned a nonconference road win after Abby Sabalaskey struck out 22 Sages and allowed seven hits while walking five batters. That effort was barely enough to hold Reese Patton at bay after Monticello’s hurler pitched 102/3 innings and fanned nine batters while allowing 11 hits. Sabalaskey and Ariel Clarkston hit doubles to key the Tigers’ offense, while Clarkston added a home run and Lilly Kiesel hit a pair of singles. Catie Swartz hit three singles to pace Monticello (6-7).
Monticello 20, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 3. Cassidee Stoffel was a force in the batter’s box for the host Sages (7-8), who dispatched the Panthers (2-13) in four innings of Illini Prairie Conference action. Stoffel finished 4 for 4 with a home run, a double and five RBI for Monticello. Avery Schweitzer and Lynnsey Trybom each drove in three runs for the winners, with Schweitzer doing so on three hits and scoring three times. Isa Beery added three hits and one RBI.
Girls Track and field
The Monticello Sages girls track and field team won the 2003 Piatt-Macon County Meet at Monticello on Tuesday.
The team scored 143 points to beat Cerro Gordo (97 points), Maroa-Forsyth (91), Decatur St. Teresa (72), Macon (52), Warrenburg-Latham (43), Niantic (31), Argenta-Oreana (18), and DeLand-Weldon (7).
First-place winners from Piatt County included: Rose Talbert of Monticello in the 400-meter dash; Estella Miller, Monticello in the 800-meter run; Mabry Bruhn, Monticello in the 3,200 meter run; Talbert in the 300-meter hurdles; Louisa Rudolph, Alayna Schultz, Mady Melton and Audrie Bundy, Monticello, in the girls 4X100 meter relay; Shelby Smith, Schultz, Rudolph and Bruhn in the 4X400 meter relay; Adi Sheppard, Monticello, in the high jump; Haley Garrett, Cerro Gordo, in the triple jump; and Jazzi Hicks, Cerro Gordo in the shot put.
Boys Track and Field
The Monticello Sages boys track and field team finished second at the 2003 Piatt-Macon County Meet on Tuesday.
The team scored 141 points. Decatur St. Teresa won the event with 188 points. In third, was Maroa-Forsyth (119.50), Cerrro Gordo (36), Argenta-Oreana (30), Warrensburg-Latham (29), Niantic (7.5) and Macon (6).
First place winners from Piatt County included: Mick Wright, Monticello, in the 100-meter dash; Rylan Good, Monticello, in the 800-meter run; Drew Sheppard, Monticello, in the high jump; Cole Sowinski, Monticello in the pole vault; and Tylor Bundy, Monticello, in the long jump.
Arcola 21, Cerro Gordo/Bement 2. The host Purple Riders (5-2) rolled past the Broncos (4-7) for a Lincoln Prairie Conference win, the second consecutive one in which Arcola scored at least 20 runs. CG/B saw a two-game win streak end.
➜ Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 15, Villa Grove 13. After defeating Casey-Westfield 15-12 on Saturday, the visiting Knights (8-5) used a similar trajectory to knock off the Blue Devils (6-7) in LPC action two days later. ALAH scored at least once in six of seven innings, including at least three runs in four different innings. Will Hilligoss homered, drove in two runs and scored thrice for the Knights, who picked up three RBI apiece from Kody Kornewald and Lucas Butcher plus another two RBI from Braden Kauffman. Villa Grove outhit the opposition 16-11 and trailed 10-2 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, but also committed 10 errors on defense. Brady Clodfelder recorded three hits and three RBI for the Blue Devils to go with two RBI from each of Gavin Kiser, Jake Gilles and Cooper Clark. Luke Zimmerman tacked on two hits and scored three runs.
Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 10, Villa Grove 9. Each of these teams entered the day undefeated in LPC play, but it was the visiting Knights (13-3) who remained that way after eight thrilling innings versus the Blue Devils (10-7). ALAH scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 9 before tallying one run in the eighth. Kailee Otto went 3 for 3 with three RBI and two runs scored to key the Knights, who received two hits and two RBI from Mackenzie Condill, three hits from Anna Rawlins and one RBI from Alisha Frederick. Villa Grove, which outhit ALAH 19-14 but made seven fielding errors, was led by Maci Clodfelder going 4 for 5 with three RBI and two runs. Other standout Blue Devils at the plate included Alison Pangburn (3 for 4, one home run, two RBI, three runs), Alex Brown (three hits, two runs), Piper Kiser (two hits, two RBI) and Isabella Dodd (two hits, two RBI).
Blue Ridge 11, Paxton-Buckley-Loda 0. A seven-run second inning made the difference for Blue Ridge (4-9) in a nonconference road triumph. Both of Carsyn Stiger’s hits were doubles, while Cassie Zimmerman added a double as part of a three-hit, three-RBI effort. Lily Enger and Alexis Wike added two hits, as well, while Ellie Schlieper struck out 10 batters and allowing just three hits. Kendyl Badgley, Tanner Graham and Devani McClatchey combined for the three hits for PBL (2-12).
FridayArgenta-Oreana 14, Blue Ridge 3. The host Bombers relied on a six-run second inning to take control of the Lincoln Prairie Conference game and then plated seven more runs in the bottom of the fourth to seal the five-inning win. Cassie Zimmerman doubled and drove in two runs to pace Blue Ridge (5-9).