Eureka Tops Spalding for First Time Since 2014, 2-1

Eureka Tops Spalding for First Time Since 2014, 2-1

EUREKA – With great pitching and clutch defense, the Eureka baseball team held off Spalding 2-1 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play on Monday at Henry Sand Field.

It was the Red Devils' first win over the Golden Eagles since 2014, and it came after the team dropped two tough ones against Spalding on Sunday.

"It's a huge bounce-back win for us," said sophomore starting pitcher Ryan Bredeson (Washington, Ill./Washington). "We knew we could beat them; we just had to clean up some defensive stuff a little bit, which we did today.

"It's just a huge win for the team, and we hope to keep it going."

The Red Devils got it done by protecting a slim lead for the entire game. The home team took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Spalding scored an unearned run in the fourth, and had plenty of chances to respond, but the maroon and gold always found a way to get out of trouble, stranding 14 Golden Eagles on the game.

Junior pitcher Parker Brodine (Brimfield, Ill./Elmwood-Brimfield) took over for Bredeson in the seventh inning and threw three hitless innings, ultimately closing the door on the Golden Eagles with an emphatic strikeout for the last out of the game.

Right before he caught Golden Eagles' last batter looking, the Red Devils turned a double play that took the game-tying run off the bases and gave EC two outs. Lane Marlow (Camp Point, Ill./Camp Point Central) snagged a popped-up bunt at third and winged it across to first base before the runner could get back in time.

The inning before that ended with a pickoff at first base after catcher Karter Hostetler (Morton, Ill./Morton) fired to first to Braden Cox (Washington, Ill./Illini Bluffs/Black Hawk) for the tag. That was just how it went down for the Red Devils as the game went on.

"It got a little rough every now and then there, but I had some good defenders out there," Brodine said. "(I had) Karter making plays, Lane making plays. It's a team thing … I'm proud of us."

The team also saw corner outfielders Jimmy Peterson (Bloomington, Ill./Homeschooled/Monmouth) and Dylan Hill (Steeleville, Ill./Steeleville) come up big defensively. The former stranded two runners in the fourth with an over-the-shoulder catch in left field  and made a third-out snag in foul territory with the bases loaded in the sixth. The latter ran down a deep shot to right with the tying runner on in the seventh.

Bredeson put the Red Devils in position to win by completing six strong innings on the mound. He conceded one unearned run on seven hits and three walks while striking out three batters in 108 pitches.

"Some days you have it, and today, fortunately, it was just one of those days for me," he said. "Everything seemed to just fall into place. I had to dance out of danger quite a bit, but it was nice to be able to put our team in position to win."

The Red Devils took the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Caleb Wilson (Houma, La./Covington Christian) reached on a fielding error and stole second base. Two batters later, Cox came to the plate and knocked a long RBI single to the fence in center field that gave the speedy Wilson plenty of time to score.

After that, Peterson walked and Hostetler reached on a fielder's choice that put runners on the corners. That was when a wild pitch allowed Cox to score and make it 2-0.

Spalding's lone run of the game came on an RBI single to center field in the fourth inning, just before Peterson's highlight-reel grab ended the frame.

At the plate, Eureka scattered six hits and three walks, with no one recording more than one of each.

Wilson and Austin Davis (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) both doubled, while Cox, Hostetler, Nathan Garard (Gibson City, Ill./Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley) and Nick Rulevish (Addieville, Ill./Okawville) all singled.

"When somebody didn't have it today," Cox said to his teammates after the game, "somebody else picked them up, and that's what winning teams do."

After the Red Devils' dugout stormed the field in celebration, the team received congratulations via FaceTime from head coach Jerry Rashid, who is away from the team on medical leave.

"Keep it up, guys," he said. "I'm proud of you."