MAHOMET — The Apollo Conference is going to be loaded all season long. Effingham is terrific. Lincoln is a rock-solid program. Mattoon, Charleston and Taylorville will all be tough outs. Nic DiFilippo has no idea where his Mahomet-Seymour baseball program will land when the season ends.
“The conference is ridiculous,” DiFilippo said. “There’s not an easy team. We could be first place in the conference, we could be eighth place in the conference. It’s just that crazy. Going .500 might win the conference. That’s how tough it is.”
When the competition is so deep, it raises the importance of every conference game. M-S took advantage this week, sweeping Mt. Zion in Saturday’s doubleheader. The Bulldogs needed a feel-good day in the worst way after suffering sweeps at the hands of Lincoln and Effingham.
M-S has started to get contributions from more people than just seniors Kyle Kinney and Jordan Veldman. Quinn Miller has nine hits in his last four games. Ben Greenberger turned in great outings on the bump against Mt. Zion on Saturday and Lincoln the week before. Senior catcher Jon Latham is starting to find his stride offensively.
Those are all really good signs for the Bulldogs. M-S sits at 9-4-1 as they try to round into form for the stretch run.
M-S 13, Mt. Zion 2. Latham singled three times and doubled — Bulldogs with at least two hits — in the opener of a doubleheader on the road.
Veldman and Greenberger both doubled and finished 3 for 6. Veldman drove in a couple runs. Kyle Kinney added a single, a double and two RBI.
Miller, Dawson Finch and Dylan Gates all finished with a couple hits. Nate McFall drilled a triple and scored twice. Jack McHale and Alek Strube both had two RBI apiece.
The offensive eruption was all that Kobe Essien and Finch needed. Essien got the win after firing 2⅓ innings of one-run ball. Essien struck out four. Finch came on in relief and pitched 4⅔ innings, allowing just one earned run and fanning seven.
M-S 12, Mt. Zion 1. Greenberger pitched another gem as the soft-tossing senior frustrated the Mt. Zion lineup all afternoon to give the Bulldogs the sweep. In five innings, Greenberger allowed just four hits and one run. Greenberger struck out three and only pitched 71 pitches in his five-inning outing.
Veldman cranked a solo homer and Miller went 3 for 3 with two runs scored to supply the offense. Kinney went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Finch had two hits and two RBI. Rick Bohlen doubled and drove in three runs.
M-S battled with Peru St. Bede on Wednesday, but results weren’t available at press time. On Saturday, M-S hosts Taylorville for a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. Rochester comes to town next Friday, April 26, at 5 p.m.