FARMINGTON – With as lights out as Brady Krile has been on the mound this spring, any sort of offense Eureka provides has resulted in a victory.
That equation lived up to its form in the May 22 sectional semifinal, as the Hornets upended Knoxville 6-2.
Outside of one bad pitch, Krile (11-0) was in control on the slab. He left a curve on the inner portion, which Andy Bates deposited over the fence in left field, for a two-run homer. That denied the senior a chance at a shutout, but the Hornets (25-7) still enjoyed a four-run advantage in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Missouri-St. Louis recruit responded with back-to-back strikeouts to end it. He tossed a complete game four-hitter, as both runs he allowed were unearned. Krile did not issue a free pass and fanned 13.
According to Eureka head coach Dane Wear, he contemplated lifting Krile and have him available for the final, but decided to leave his ace in.
“That was an option. We have all the confidence in the world in (Aaron) Schwab,” he commented. “He (Krile) was dealing. He was in a groove. That’s part of the reason why we stuck with him.”
Eureka got on the board with two in the top of the second. With one out, Adam Anderson hit a solo big fly to dead center. The other tally came in on a bases loaded walk to Matt Martin.
The three Knoxville (20-13) pitchers used combined to issue seven walks and hit another.
“It’s one of those things where we have to be patient and get into hitter’s counts,” Wear explained. “We were aggressive in hitter’s counts. We did a nice job.”
The Hornets plated two more in the fourth on a run-scoring single from Daniel Frank and the other on a Blue Bullets’ error. Eureka tallied 11 hits, as Frank, Colby Blunier and Keegan Zimmerman each had two.
With Knoxville’s number one starter Cal Engebretson having pitched both regional games, the Blue Bullets turned to Riley Jennings, who suffered the loss. He went three and a third and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits. He struck out five, but walked four.
“Anytime you’re not up against an ace, you’re wondering what if,” said Wear. “The last time the Jennings kid pitched was May 8. They’re a very good ballclub.”