COAL CITY – It took a little while Friday for the Coal City baseball team's hitters to figure out Wilmington starting pitcher Josh Jones.
Jones matched Coal City ace Payton Hutchings pitch for pitch through the first four innings. In fact, Jones did not allow a hit to the Coalers through four as he struck out three.
Hutchings allowed only one hit through five innings, fanning seven.
Coal City (25-5, 14-2), which was wearing pinstripe uniforms from the late 1990s for Throwback Day, managed to get to Jones in the bottom of the fifth, taking advantage of some fielding miscues and coming up with some clutch hits to score five runs.
Beau Wills led off the bottom of the fifth and reached base on an error for the second time in the game. Austin Friddle walked, and Carter Copes blooped a single to right to load the bases. Sean Micetich then lined out to second before Wills scored the first run of the game when Hutchings was hit by a pitch.
Keegan Gagliardo bounced back to Jones, who threw home to force out Friddle for the second out. Blake Harseim then drove a single to left, scoring both pinch runner Justin Dabulskis and Hutchings for a 3-0 Coal City lead. Austin Pullara then hit a ball that went off the third baseman's glove and caromed to the shortstop. The throw to first was wild, and both Gagliardo and Harseim scored.
"Jones threw great for them," Coal City coach Greg Wills said. "But once we saw him a couple of times, we were able to put some good swings on the ball. Even when we made outs, we were hitting it hard."
In the sixth for Wilmington, Tyler Long led off with a single, and Will Hainline walked. Connor Dempsay grounded into a fielder's choice to short, putting runners on first and third before Hutchings got out of the jam with a pop to short and a fly to right.
Coal City put up a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Friddle and Dabulskis each singled before Sean Micetich chased them home with a double.
In the seventh, Wilmington's Mark Youngquist led off with a double to deep center, and Will Van Duyne walked. After a strikeout, Garrett Roth singled to load the bases, and Youngquist came home when Long was hit by a pitch. Hutchings then recorded his ninth strikeout of the game before inducing a pop-up to first to end it.
"Payton was Payton," Greg Wills said. "We felt pretty good with a five-run lead and him on the mound. This was a fun win on a fun day."