BASEBALL: Graham’s walk-off homer gives Dwight win over Watseka
DWIGHT — Logan Graham and home runs go together like biscuits and gravy, and Saturday’s Sangamon Valley Conference matchup at home against Watseka was no exception.
Graham delivered a walk-off, solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Dwight a thrilling 2-1 victory.
The Trojans improved to 6-12 on the year and 4-4 in SVC play. The Warriors dropped to 8-14 on the year and 3-7 in SVC play.
“I wasn’t looking for a specific pitch or anything like that,” Graham said. “I was just trying to get on base because I knew I had two good hitters behind me.”
Those hitters, Colton Holm and Mason Tjelle, never needed to take their turns after Graham’s round-tripper.
“I know I’m biased, but I think Logan is the best baseball player in the conference,” Trojans coach Jonathan Golden said. “He’s a jack of all trades who can play any position on the field. He’s done a great job for us this year.”
Cade Enerson brought home Camden Beier on a hard hit sacrifice fly to centerfield in the bottom of the fourth inning to score the game’s first run and give Dwight a 1-0 lead.
Watseka quickly responded when Mason Gibson scored on an RBI single from Caden Giroux to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning to set up the stage for Graham’s dinger.
Happy to play again
After a waterlogged week that resulted in nearly all area baseball games being canceled, both coaches were glad to be playing again under the sun.
“It was a good thing to play again, and both teams battled hard,” Watseka coach Joe Lyznicki said. “You could tell the kids on both sides were ready to get a game in.
“Hopefully, we’ll have four more games with weather like this next week.”
The Trojans also played shorthanded because of the success of their math-letes, who were away at State competition, which gave Golden a little more pre-game anxiety than normal.
“We were missing about five of our guys who are at math team State right now,” Golden said. “Combine that with not playing any games for a week due to bad weather — I didn’t really know what to expect today.
“But we pulled it out on a day with really nice weather, and I couldn’t ask for much more considering everything.”
Saturday featured a matchup between two of the top pitchers in the SVC in Watseka’s Ben Lynzniki and Dwight’s Graham.
Both pitchers had success, but they did it with contrasting pitching styles.
“Logan throws hard and blows by guys with his power,” Joe Lyznicki said. “Ben doesn’t overpower you, but he does throw smart and forces ground balls and gets outs.”
Both pitchers had innings they sailed through with ease, and both had to strike guys out to get out of tight situations with runners in scoring positions.
“I knew I was going to match up against Ben and couldn’t give up too many runs with him on the mound,” Graham said. “Overall, I think I accomplished that today.”
Lyznicki pitched 6 1/3 innings on the day, giving up seven hits and striking out seven. He gave up two runs.
Graham pitched six innings, gave up three hits, struck out 13 batters and gave up one run.
Graham is hitting .412 on the year, with five home runs and 20 RBIs. He also is 3-1 on the mound with 62 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings.
For Dwight, Graham was 2 for 2 at the plate with a solo home run and a walk. Scott Harkenrider also had two hits for the Trojans. Peyton Byerley and Beier each had one hit, and Enerson had one RBI. Cal Schultz pitched one inning and got the win on the mound, striking out two batters. He also had a hit at the plate.
For Watseka, Giroux was 1 for 4 at the plate with one RBI. Brock Horner and Lyznicki also had hits for the Warriors.
Dwight returns home to play Momence at 4:30 p.m. today. Watseka also will have a home game at 4:30 p.m. today against St. Thomas More.