By Steve Robinson | June 2, 2019 - 10:19 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Cornbelters, The Normalite

After splitting a pair of games with the DuPage Pistol Shrimp to mark their debut as members of the Prospect League, the Normal CornBelters dropped their first home game at The Corn Crib Saturday night. The Pistol Shrimp pounded Normal, 11-1 before a crowd of 800 fans. DuPage’s victory exacted revenge on the CornBelters for their road win over the Pistol Shrimp on May 30 in what was Normal’s debut with the league, 10-1.

The only run of the night for the CornBelters came in the bottom of the first inning as with one out, right fielder Jeremy Drudge’s single helped lead-off man Thomas Parker score from second base to give Normal (1-2 after this game) a quick 1-0 lead. Parker doubled to open the inning. But that would turn out to be the only run to cross the plate for Normal on the night.

DuPage (3-1) would take the lead in the top of the second inning scoring four runs as a single by catcher Hogan McIntosh’s single emptied a bases loaded situation, putting the visitors up, 2-1, allowing shortstop Garrett Goetz and Matt Waznis to score. Third baseman Kyle Kolb followed McIntosh with a single giving DuPage two men on base. After right fielder Anders Davidson struck out for DuPage’s second out, leadoff man Paul Kunst’s single scored McIntosh and Davidson, pushing the visiting team’s lead to 4-1 before Normal fielders would get their third out on DuPage center fielder Steven Hamer to end the inning.

DuPage would go on to score four more runs in the third inning, one in the fourth, and two in the fifth to complete the victory.

“We didn’t play very good at all today,” CornBelters head coach Rick White said. “Our bats have gone dead since opening night. We’re going to come out here and keep working harder and try to get this thing turned around real quick. The good thing is we’re only four games into the season, so I think once we get the right lineup figured out and all that, we’re going to be fine.”

“I don’t know if it was opening night jitters for the home team, but I know how Normal is feeling right now because we were on the short end just a few days ago,” said DuPage head coach John Jakiemiec afterward. Like Normal, DuPage is also an expansion team in the Prospect League this season. Jakiemiec credited CornBelters catcher Tyler Burthay’s throwing arm with keeping many Pistol Shrimp players from advancing to second once they got on or past first base. “Play like that helps pitchers control the running game when you see a kid like that with a cannon like that. You didn’t see us stealing a lot. We’ve got a lot of respect for what he can do behind the plate.”

‘Belters Missing Players Involved In College Postseason Play: White said with some of his players currently away from Normal because they are involved in postseason college play that has hampered the manpower available to the team. Those players are: Illinois State University pitchers Jack Anderson and Jackson Bronke, and outfielder Jack Butler who are with the Redbirds at the NCAA tournament; Outfielder Mike Addante, who is with University of Nebraska at NCAAs, and Pitcher Lucas DeGarmo, who is with his Northern Oklahoma University at Enid team at the national JUCO World Series.

White said that as a result of those players being absent, it has given the team an opportunty to see how other players can play. “We’ve gotten to see quite a bit in the first few days,” White said.

CornBelters Beat Visiting Springfield Sunday Night: Normal’s debut season in the Prospect League saw an improvement on Sunday night as the CornBelters defeated the visiting Springfield Sliders, 5-4. Outfielder Joey Allen got the scoring off to a proper start with his first inning home run. The win improved the ‘Belters record to 2-3 as of Monday morning. Following a road game at Springfield Tuesday and hosting Hannibal Wednesday, the CornBelters will host DuPage Thursday and Friday, and Hannibal again Saturday before playing at Danville Sunday.

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