EUREKA – The Eureka baseball team dropped its first home doubleheader of the 2021 season on a windy Sunday afternoon at Henry Sand Field.
The Red Devils racked up three home runs in each game, but Westminster picked up the doubleheader sweep, 12-7 and 17-3. The Blue Jays posted two home runs in Game 1 and knocked four over the fence in Game 2.
Game 1: Westminster 12, Eureka 7
Eureka started the home run derby trend in the bottom of the fourth inning when freshman Alex Barney (Sheldon, Ill./Milford) lofted a ball over the center-field fence with a runner on to give the Red Devils a 2-0 edge. It was the first home run of his collegiate career.
In the fifth, Westminster came back with four runs on three hits, including a two-run homer by Steven Diaz. However, EC answered in the bottom half after senior Kyle Christman (Peru, Ill./La Salle-Peru) punched a two-run dinger to left-center to tie the game at 4-4.
Westminster took control with a six-run rally in the sixth inning. Then, in the seventh, the home team manufactured two more runs. Dean Moir (Coal City, Ill./Coal City) singled with two outs, Braden Cross (Clinton, Ill./Clinton) drew a walk, and then Karter Hostetler (Morton, Ill./Morton) and Dylan Hill (Steeleville, Ill./Steeleville) had back-to-back RBI singles.
The Red Devils advanced runners to second and third, but a hard Barney lineout to short ended the inning.
Westminster's Bryce McKinnon recorded a solo shot in the eighth and Hunter Mullholland had an RBI double in the ninth to make it 12-6. Hostetler, a freshman, recorded his first collegiate homer in the bottom of the ninth to put up EC's last run.
Christman went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. Hostetler went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs and Dylan Hill added two hits as well. The Red Devils finished with 10 hits to Westminster's 10.
Pitcher Jared Smith (Henry, Ill/Henry-Senachwine) threw four scoreless innings before getting into trouble in the fifth and sixth. He took the loss after conceding seven runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings and striking out a pair.
Game 2: Westminster 17, Eureka 3 (7 inn.)
Hostetler homered for the second time of the day in the fourth, and Peterson and Cheramie homered on back-to-back at-bats in the fifth. It was the first round-tripper in their career for both players.
Westminster's Payton Whitehead and Coltin Green each went yard twice, and Austin Mayton and Bryce McKinnon homered as well in a game that got out of hand after the Blue Jays racked up a combined 13 runs between the third, fourth and fifth innings.
There will be more baseball between the two teams on Monday at Henry Sand Field. The second doubleheader of the series is set to begin at 12 p.m.