illinois Digital News

Dragons fall to Illinois Valley, drop out of first place


ALTON – Blake Burris was hitting a ton Wednesday night for the Alton River Dragons, but Illinois Valley had the answers.

Burris went 4 for 5 at the plate, tying a River Dragons team mark for most hits in a game, but the Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp had a pair of big innings and left Lloyd Hopkins Field with a 13-6 Prospect League victory.

The River Dragons loss, coupled with a Wednesday night victory by the O’Fallon Hoots means the Dragons find themselves out of first place in the Prairie Land Division for the first time this season heading into Wednesday’s showdown with the Hoots at 6:35 p.m. at The Hop. The River Dragons are 12-8, one-half game behind the 13-8 Hoots.

The Pistol Shrimp scored five runs in the fourth inning and four in the sixth.

Illinois Valley’s Christion Cleary gave his team a 1-0 lead in the third with a solo home run to center field.

The River Dragons countered with a run in the bottom of the third inning. With two out, Eddie King Jr. reached first base on on an error by Illinois Valley shortstop Kevin Parker, scoring Noah Bush and sending Marcus Heusohn to third. Bush had reached base on a fielders choice. Huesohn had walked.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Pistol Shrimp scored five runs on three bases-loaded walks and a two-run single. Illinois Valley received six walks in the inning and eight overall.

The River Dragons got two of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth. Bryce Zupan singled, driving in Blake Stenger. Later, Burris singled and Zupan went to third and scored on an error by the second baseman, making it 6-3 heading into the fifth inning.

Zupan had a pair of hits, an RBI and scored a run for Alton.

The teams traded solo home runs in the fifth inning. Dio Cornet homered to center field with one out for the Pistol Shrimp to make it 7-3. In the bottom of the inning, Alton’s Eddie King Jr. clouted a one-out solo home run to left center field to make it 7-4

Cornet went 3 for 4 at the plate for Illinois Valley with three RBIs and two runs scored..

Illinois Valley broke the game open in the sixth inning with four runs to take an 11-4 lead. They had five hits and took advantage of an error by the River Dragons.

The River dragons managed to get two of those runs back in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Bush tripled, driving in Burris. Bush then scored on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base by Heusohn, making it 11-6.

The triple by Bush was his fourth of the season. He also pitched two innings of scoreless relief, striking out three and walking one.

Justin Needles took the loss for the River Dragons. He pitched 3.2 innings, allowed one hit  but walked four Illinois Valley batters.

Harrison Bodendorf  got the win on the mound for the Pistol Shrimp. He came on in the fifth, pitched two innings, scattered fur hits, allowed three earned runs, struck out three and walked one.


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