Last season the Tremont baseball team rolled past El Paso-Gridley and Eureka to clinch an IHSA Class 2A Regional Championship. The Turks defeated Sherrard in the sectional semifnals before Illini West quelled Tremont’s postseason march in the sectional championship.
This season, the Turks look to make another deep postseason run.
The postseason started Wednesday with an 8-7 win over Annawan-Wethersfield in the IHSA Class 2A Brimfield Regional. Next up for the Turks is Kewanee, which moved past Farmington in eight innings on Thursday, for the regional championship at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Getting to the championship game was not an easy task for Tremont (23-8). Annawan jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before the notorious Tremont bats came alive. The Turks scored a total of seven runs in innings two, three and four before tacking on one more in the sixth.
Annawan wouldn’t go away. The Braves attacked Tremont’s six-run lead with five runs in the top of the seventh inning before Max Garey came on and halted the Annawan rally.
“We got a little bit complacent and let a ball drop that we shouldn’t have and (Annawan) rallied behind it,” Tremont head coach Robb Wicks said.
Max Bolliger got the start for the Turks, going six innings with six strikeouts and five walks. Silas Isreal and Garey relieved Bolliger.
Bolliger (2) and Noah Muehlich (2) combined for four RBIs on the day.
Tremont’s bat make noise, but when the top two batters are rolling, the Turks cruise along.
“We’ll get something going, we’ll put up one or two, but those big-massive innings happen when the top two (Tucker Runyon and Cordon Davis) get going. We run freely on the bases,” Wicks said.
The narrow victory sets the Turks up for a date with Kewanee (11-15).
Garey will start on the mound for Tremont and face Colton Johnson, a tall lefty who is committed to Illinois State University. Johnson pitched a complete game in Kewanee’s opener against Williamsfield and threw three innings on Thursday in a win over Farmington.
The experienced Turks remain relaxed.
“I was talking to (Benny) Prather, he goes, ‘You know coach, I really don’t feel like this is postseason. I feel like we’re focused like we need to be every game, and this is just keep running and keep getting wins,’” Wicks said.
Wicks said the complacency that allowed a late Annawan rally will not make another appearance this postseason. The narrow win was a wake-up call for the Turks, Wicks said.
The relaxed Turks are still hungry after a deep postseason run last season.
After the win over Paxton-Buckley-Loda on April, Wicks said the offense has been cruising — despite a few slip-ups. Tremont has gone 11-3 over that span. “I feel like our bats are more consistent over the last half of the season. We just have to go out there and play a little defense.”
A win on Saturday would set Tremont up in the first round of sectional play against the winner of the Monmouth-Roseville Regional on May 25.