By PAUL HINES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON – Tim Holloway doesn’t want his team to change.
The Rams baseball coach led his team to the regional title. Today, Mt. Vernon opens sectional action against Effingham.
“We feel if we take care of the things we need to do, then we’ll have a good chance to win,” Holloway said. “We don’t need to go up there and try to be someone else. We need to just be ourselves. We’ve played good competition all year and been successful. This time of year, we believe, routine builds confidence.”
The Rams won the regional final against rival Centralia behind pitching and defense. Mt. Vernon’s offense managed just a single hit in a 2-0 win.
Tyler Ellis threw a complete game and scattered three hits. The Rams didn’t commit an error in the game.
“Pitching and defense win and the offense is going to decide by how much,” Holloway said. “Obviously we would have much preferred it to be a lot bigger number on our side.”
Effingham won three games on its way to the East Richland regional title. The Flaming Hearts opened with a 4-2 victory in 12 innings against the host school. Effingham edged Salem 7-6 in the semifinal and beat Mattoon 1-0 in eight inning during the championship.
“As far as the postseason goes, what matters is who’s hot at this time,” Holloway said. “And obviously they’ve been hot. They’ve won some big games.”
Holloway said assistant coach Denny Clark has scouted the Flaming Hearts twice recently.
“We have a pretty good idea how we want to attack their hitters and some things that they do and some areas we can help ourselves out with,” Holloway said.
Brock Fulkerson, who helped the Rams beat Herrin in the opening regional game, will start on the mound for Mt. Vernon. The junior is 9-2 this season and has a 2.02 earned run average.
Today’s game starts at 4:30 p.m.
With construction currently going on in the Effingham area, spectators are advised to use the 162 exit off Interstate 57 that leads to Route 45 driving into Effingham.
Community Park will play host to the games and is located on East Temple Avenue.
3A Effingham Sectional Today 4:30 p.m. Mt. Vernon (28-8-1) vs. Effingham (19-13) Thursday 4:30 p.m. Triad vs. Mascoutah Saturday 11 a.m. championship