Scheduling has not been kind to the Pekin baseball team.
The Dragons ran into the Washington Panthers, winners of six straight games, in a home-and-home series on Monday and Wednesday. On Thursday the Dragons ran into red-hot Morton in a Mid-Illini Conference game at Harry Anderson field that was rescheduled from April 27.
Morton (19-5, 9-1) downed Pekin 11-1 in six innings behind the pitching of Ryan Altenberger. The junior struck out six Dragons in a one-hit effort on the mound.
Altenberger settled in after a shaky start. Morton head coach Jesse Crawford attributed the start to not pitching for 15 days due to rainouts.
“We knew he’d be a little rocky,” Crawford said. “He didn’t locate his fastball the first two innings, but we got out of it. About the third inning he dialed in a little bit. He’s been a horse on the mound this year.”
The lone Pekin (8-17, 3-7) run came in the third inning when Michael Dickey reached base on one of four Morton errors on the day. Dickey stole second and scored on another Potter error.
Dickey reached base three times on Thursday, each by error. The second baseman his hitting over .400 for the Dragons. Davis said often times people seek answers about a player’s hot-streak. He doesn’t have any to describe Dickey’s work at the plate.
“He’s focusing at the plate,” Davis said. “There’s no more to it. He has a lot of confidence at the plate.”
Pekin didn’t break into the hit column until the fifth inning when pinch hitter Jeremy Vogel dropped a hit past the infield.
Karson Thomas got the start on the mound for the Dragons, tossing 2 1-3 innings, allowing five hits and five earned runs. Nick Campbell relieved Thomas, throwing 2 2-3 innings, allowing four earned runs. Vogel closed the game out on the mound.
“I really thought Karson threw well against them,” Davis said.
Altenberger helped himself at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI from the lead-off spot. Collin Mormann spotted his pitcher runs, driving in a pair on a 3-for-4 day that included a triple.
Bradley signee Dan Bolt inflicted his own damage on the Dragons with four RBIs on a 3-for-4 day.
“They’re one of the better fundamentally sound hitting teams I’ve seen in a while,” Davis said. “They can go from 0-2 or 1-2 and the next thing you know, they’re dropping it over the third baseman’s head or hitting it into the gap.”
Morton has won seven games in a row and 12 of its last 13 games with the lone loss coming against Mid-Illini powerhouse Limestone. The Potters are 9-1 in conference play, tops in the conference.
“We’re playing really well, all phases,” Crawford said. “Defensively we slipped up a little bit tonight (four errors), but we made up for it with our bats. Our pitching’s been really good. I can’t complain as a coach right now. Every team in the (Mid-Illini) so far we’ve 10-run ruled except for Metamora and that as 7-0, 6-1. We know right now we’re playing pretty good, but we’ve got to maintain that going into the postseason.”