59ers roll in sectional opener behind Holtcamp, Fushi

HEATFIELD — Top-ranked Andrean blasted Kankakee Valley by a combined 47-2 in their two regular-season meetings, but 59ers coach Dave Pishkur told his players that didn’t matter in Wednesday’s tournament game.

“We talked about that (Tuesday) that everybody comes into the tournament undefeated and that every game the rest of the year we’ll be playing someone that doesn’t have a loss,” he said.

Andrean plated five first-inning runs and added four in the fifth and five more in the sixth to roll past host K.V. 15-1, in a Class 3A Sectional game. The 59ers will face either Wheeler, who defeated Hanover Central 11-5 in the nightcap.

Joel Holtcamp led the attack for the 59ers (25-6) by going 3 for 4 with a pair of triples and three runs. All three of his RBIs came on a bases-clearing triple in the first inning.

“It was a full count so I’m just thinking wait back and don’t get out in front of a curveball because (K.V. pitcher Matt DeGroot) had just thrown one,” Holtcamp said. “I wanted to let it travel and not jump at anything and try to hit line drive opposite side and that’s what happened. I just had to choke up and put the ball in play with a line drive.

“Momentum was big for us (Wednesday) and once someone does something it was just about following the guy in front of you and keeping it going. Everyone starts off 0-0 in the postseason and we treat these like any other game. We just come out and play hard and compete.”

Holtcamp also tossed two scoreless innings after Clay Thompson threw the first four.

“That was probably Joel’s best game ever at Andrean. He came in and pitched well and had those three hits,” Pishkur said. “That was a big two-out hit by Joel because that gave us a a cushion. It was a good win because we were able to save Clay and have him only throw 50 some pitches and even Joel only threw a handful. Now, they can come back Friday if we need them to but hopefully we won’t need them.”

Matt Lelito had a two-run double in the four-run fifth and Nick Fushi launched a three-run homer in the five-run fifth. Fushi was 2 for 3 with a pair of runs and five RBIs. Charles Jones was 2 for 2 with a pair of runs.

“You just never know in the tournament and fortunately we came out and had a big inning,” Pishkur said. “Joel’s hit there in the first set the tone because otherwise it’s only one or two runs in the inning and doubt starts creeping into somebody’s head and confidence goes to the other dugout. We hung around at five runs there for a while, but we got to six and then exploded after that.”