BELMONT — Benton/Shullsburg pitcher Chris Trejo allowed just a single run in seven solid innings on the mound and did the job at the plate as well by driving in two runs and scoring another to lead the #3-seeded Zephyrs-Miners over the #2-seeded Belmont Braves, 6-1, in a WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal baseball game at BHS on Tuesday, May 31.
Trejo (6-2), who didn’t face the Six Rivers West champion Braves in their two regular season meetings– both wins for Belmont (11-6 on April 11 and 3-1 on May 17), wasn’t entirely sharp all game as he issued eight walks and hit a batter. However, he was sharp when it counted, yielding just three hits and allowing just one run while striking out 10 en route to the complete-game win.
“It was hard to get in a rhythm because (Trejo) was effectively wild,” said Belmont head coach Alan Seabrooke. “We also had four or five line drives right at them with runners in scoring position.”
Each team had their chances throughout the game as the Braves stranded 12 runners on base and the Miner-Zephyrs left 11 on the base paths.
Ben/Shulls (13-10 overall) snapped a 0-0 tie by plastering four runs on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. An error on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Nathan Wedige allowed second baseman Jacob Berendes to come in to score the game’s first run. Trejo followed with a RBI-single that scored Nolan Strang, while Wedige scored on another error and Trejo came in on Hunter Matye’s sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
“We picked a bad time of year to have a bad game. Benton/Shullsburg made lots of plays and put pressure on us. We messed up a couple bunt coverages, which we haven’t done all year, and had several other mistakes on defense,” noted Seabrooke.
Belmont (17-8) answered back with a seeing-eye RBI-single from senior first baseman Nick Willborn that plated pitcher Quinn Cushman in the bottom of the fourth to get on the board, but that would be all they would muster off Trejo despite putting two runners on in the fifth and sixth frames and loading the bases in the seventh.
The Zephyr-Miners tacked on two key insurance runs in the sixth inning to grab some breathing room. Trejo doubled in Strang to start the rally, and Matye drove in Trejo’s courtesy runner Griffin Wiegel with a single to up the lead to 6-1.
Trejo finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run, while Matye drove in two runs and Strang scored twice in the game.
Willborn was 2-for-4 for the Braves, while Cushman reached base three times and scored once.
Cushman (7-3) took the loss after allowing six runs (one earned) on eight hits and six walks with 10 Ks over six innings of work.
“Quinn didn’t have his best stuff on the mound, but he certainly pitched well enough to win. If we made the plays like they did, it could have been a different outcome,” stated Seabrooke.
Playing in their final prep game at Belmont were seniors Quinn Cushman, Lane Kamps, Nick Willborn, Jon Bahr, Josh Logsdon, Raine Voigts and Nate Knebel.
“Quinn, Lane and Nick did a great job carrying us on the mound this year. Jon did a fantastic job catching in his first year as a catcher. Josh, Raine, and Nate all played well in the outfield and had several clutch hits that led to a few big wins. I am happy they could end their career with a conference championship. Injuries derailed them in football and they were so close in basketball, so I am happy for them in baseball,” said Seabrooke.
“We had a goal of winning the conference this year, and we accomplished that. It was disappointing to lose so early in the post-season, but that can’t take away from what this team accomplished in the regular season. We got great performances from our seniors throughout the year. Several of the underclassmen had a few big moments as well. Next year they’ll get a chance to build on what they did and learned this year.”
WIAA D4 REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Bent/Shulls… 000 402 0 – 6 8 1
Belmont…….. 000 100 0 – 1 3 3
Leading Hitters: B/S– Aaron Coffey 2x3, Chris Trejo 2x3. 2B– Trejo. Bel– Nick Willborn 2x4.
WP- Trejo. LP- Quinn Cushman.
At Belmont, on Tuesday, May 31