KEWANEE — A big first inning by the Kewanee Boilermakers was all that was needed to take the wind out of the Princeton Tigers’ sail as they were shut out 6-0 Tuesday night in Kewanee.
The Boilers got on the board early with three runs in the first inning that was highlighted by shortstop Ryan Hicks who took the first offering from Princeton pitcher Caleb Dickens over the center field fence. The Boilers added another run later to make the score 3-0.
“Everybody’s going to get a big hit like that sometime and it was his turn so he got the big home run and they scored two runs on that and then added one more that inning. It made a big difference to the team, and they kind of got knocked down a bit but they came out after that and our pitching was fine and our defense was good,” Princeton coach Tim Taylor said.
Each team managed five hits, but the Tigers couldn’t string anything together as Kewanee pitcher John Moraski spread out five hits over a complete game shutout to take the 6-0 victory.
Princeton played sound baseball but couldn’t connect with hits in key situations as they put lazy fly balls into the air for easy outs by the Kewanee defense.
Kewanee added three more insurance runs over the course of the game including RBI hits by catcher Dalton Nuding and first baseman Donovan Murphy.
Center fielder Isaiah Taylor led the Tigers going 3-2 with two singles. Second baseman J.J. Vaccaro, right fielder Levi Bates and shortstop Jake Reinhardt each added base knocks for the Tigers.
“We played fine, we played good defense, we’re just hitting the ball in the air,” Taylor said. “We hit 12 easy fly balls for easy outs. If we hit the ball hard on the ground or hit some more line drives, we’d be fine and we’d be right there with them but we didn’t do that today like they did that today and that was the difference in the game.”
Looking forward to regionals, Taylor believes his team is ready to compete on all levels as long as they can minimize the amount of fly balls throughout the duration of the tournament.
“Going into regionals our pitching is ready, our defense is ready, our game is ready and it will just amount to where we hit the ball,” Taylor said. “Our boys are working hard in ball games and in practice and if we come out with a killer instinct and an attitude that we’re going to win ball games I think we will.”
• PHS returns home Thursday to host the Hall Red Devils in more Three Rivers South action.
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