EARLVILLE — Maybe it was the different feel of the game.
Due to Good Friday, it was a weekday morning contest during which the Earlville High School end-of-period bells could be heard on the adjacent diamond, but both Somonauk and the Red Raiders had to come away feeling it accomplished a little something.
For the Bobcats, it was the 8-0 victory, earned behind a seven-inning, two-hit shutout from senior Jaylen Dion and a two-hit, three-RBI day from Payton Wyant, the latter pacing an offense that made the most of 11 walks by EHS pitching and the four errors by its defense.
For the Red Raiders, it marked improvement on the heels of a 21-2, three-inning loss to the Bobcats the day before, staying in contention through much of the game despite losing starting pitcher Garrett Cook to injury with two outs in the top of the second inning.
In the end, it was Dion’s performance that shone through, striking out eight, walking two and surrendering only a two-out double to Jeremy Weymouth in the first and a two-out single to Kyle Jungels in the sixth.
“Jake came out and threw a really nice game,” said Somonauk coach Troy Felton, his club now 9-2 overall, 6-0 in the Little Ten Conference. “It wasn’t our intention to have him throw a full seven [innings], but when a guys is throwing well, it’s hard to pull him off the mound. …
“He’s got a curveball, a slider, and I think he even worked in a knuckleball or two. He had pretty good command of them all today, so we kept in contact with him about his arm, and we just kept going with him. He did a nice job.
“The kids kept asking me if we were gonna play on Good Friday, and I said it’s a good Friday to play baseball. … We would have liked to have put the bat on the ball more like last night. The time change affects how you play, and though we played well, we didn’t play as well as we could have.”
The Bobcats took the lead in the first when Brendan Roberts walked, stole second and scored when the throw on his steal of third went into left field. The next inning, Carson Bahrey walked, went to second on a balk and scored from third on another balk by Cook.
That’s when the Raiders hurler motioned that he’d re-injured his right elbow, reviving a pain he first felt in his start against Hinckley-Big Rock last week, and had to come out, having fanned three and walked four in 1 2/3 innings. According to Earlville coach Dillon Reel, Cook will not pitch for at least two weeks, but may see time at DH in that span.
Ryan Browder (2 1/3 IP, 2 K, 6 BB) got out of that inning, but gave up a run in the third on an error and three straight walks, the last netting Carter Andrews an RBI.
The visitors put the game away in the fourth, when walks to Parker Wasson and Roberts, a two-run double by Wyant, a run-scoring triple by Broc Slais and an RBI groundout by Dion upped the lead to 7-0.
A Roberts triple and sacrifice fly by Wyant off Clay Phillip (3 IP, 3 H, 1 K, 1 BB) in the sixth capped the scoring, more than enough for Dion, who faced one over the minimum through the first four innings. A walk, the Jungels hit and an error gave the Raiders a runner in each of the last three frames, but they did not threaten as they fell to 1-7, 0-4 in the LTC.
“How many strikeouts did we have today?” said Reel, who when told eight added, “I guess that’s better than 14 [the day before]. … We’re not in a rhythm at the plate right now. We’re gradually putting the ball in play better and are seeing the ball better up there.
“Hopefully we’ll keep that going and bounce back this next week, get a win or two to give us some confidence.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle