Tolton Catholic drops wild extra-inning game against Fayette

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 | 11:19 p.m. CDT; updated 11:32 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 9, 2013
The Tolton Catholic High School baseball team lost to Fayette High School 16-12 Tuesday at American Legion Park.

COLUMBIA — One-hundred seven. That's how many pitches Tolton Catholic's sophomore Parker Wilkinson threw Tuesday night. In relief.

Those 107 pitches kept Tolton, who was down 6-2 when Wilkinson replaced starter Rian Markes in the fourth inning, in a wild 10-inning affair against Fayette High School that saw Tolton fight off final pitches in multiple innings.

After the game, Wilkinson, who was pulled in the 10th inning after giving up the game-winning run in a 16-12 loss, was icing his arm. But he insisted it was normal.

"My arm feels good," Wilkinson said, who has thrown close to this amount of pitches in his past three games.

In those games, Wilkinson twice came on in relief. He said he likes being the workhorse of the team, which only has two other regular pitchers and field some players that had not played competitive baseball until this year.

Because of this rotation, Tolton coach Mike Johnson says his staff keeps a close watch on pitch counts.

"Our kids are so young, and I only have three legitimate pitchers," Johnson said. "We're always tracking pitch counts."

The game got off to a rough start for the Trailblazers. Markes was leaving a lot of his pitches in the middle of the plate and the Tolton infielders often struggled to field balls.

But the Trailblazers' belief never faded.

RBIs from Dylan Freese, Jon Steinmetz and Wilkinson in the fourth inning brought the game within one. A two-run Fayette fifth seemed to dim the comeback, but you couldn't tell that listening to Tolton's bench.

"It had a lot of the same feel as our first win when we came back from four runs," Johnson said. "Our kids just don't quit. I call it the Tolton Magic."

"Tolton Magic" seemed to be pumping through Wilkinson's veins. As the comeback ensued, Wilkinson got stronger.

"This is insane," outfielder Lane Reddick said as Wilkinson retired the side in the eighth.

Like all good things, though, the "Tolton Magic" came to an end. Tolton failed to score in consecutive innings and Wilkinson walked a Fayette batter before giving up the game-winning double in the 10th inning.

"Even though we didn't win, I think this game will help us a lot," Wilkinson said. "A lot of our kids haven't played much before, and to comeback like this can be life changing."

Tolton next plays Friday at Tipton.

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