Jacobs saw its team get no-hit for 7 innings and witnessed a walk-off single at Dundee-Crown on Thursday, but still managed to come away with a 1-0 extra inning win, staying alive and tied for first in the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division.
Thanks to the rainy spring weather, the Golden Eagles (19-11, 12-4) had to switch from hosting Thursday's game at Trout Park to playing at D-C and being the home team. It would have been like any other game if it weren't for the pitchers on the mound.
Reilly Peltier started for the Golden Eagles and allowed just 4 hits and no runs in 6 innings of work. On a normal day that would have probably been good enough to get the win, but Peltier was out there just trying to keep up with his opponent, Ahren Ludwig.
Earning praise from coaches and players alike, Ludwig threw 7⅔ innings of no-hit baseball before finally yielding to Ryan Sargent on a ball that squeaked just under the glove of diving third baseman Reily Alvarado. Dan Denz came in for relief but not before Ludwig left to applause from both sides of the stands.
"We've seen a lot of good arms this year, and he's probably in the top two or three that we've seen," Jacobs' coach Jamie Murray said of Ludwig. "Early in the game he had some command issues but he settled down and our guys had a tough time making adjustments. He kept us off balance. He's going to pitch at the next level."
After jumping ahead 2-0 on Ben Murray, Denz lost the strike zone and walked him on four straight pitches, bringing up eventual hero Grant Kale. Denz threw three straight balls followed by a foul ball and Kale knowing the next pitch would be hit hard.
"I wanted to go up there with confidence," Kale said of the at-bat. "It was a long game, and it looked like (Denz) was struggling at first so I went up there looking for the win."
Said Jamie Murray: "We executed at the right times. We got the two-out hit to break up the no-hitter then the quality at-bat from the two-hitter, Murray, and then you have your three-hole hitter getting the job done."
Get the job done Kale did, turning on a ball and lining a single down the left field line to score Sargent, giving Ludwig the loss, and closing out the game. In three at-bats against Ludwig, Kale had grounded and lined out to the second baseman each time, something Kale knows was by design.
"We've faced a couple of pitchers (that were good), but he's a great pitcher. I mean honestly he had us fooled the whole time, we couldn't do anything against him," Kale said.
For as good as Ludwig was, the duo of Peltier and Jake Jemmi, who got the win, was just slightly better, shutting the Chargers (12-14, 8-8) down for the majority of the game.
"Tip your hat to good pitchers, they were around the plate and they kept us off balance," Chargers' coach Jon Anderson said. "You can't second guess yourself up there and unfortunately we came out on the short end of this one."
Peltier was effectively wild against the Chargers' hitters, striking out 9, walking 4 and hitting 5 batters as well, but for every jam he created he was able to escape.
Three times the Chargers had at least a runner at third and two out but could not push one across to help out their pitcher. Jemmi was better but he still allowed 2 hits in the top of the eighth, working his way around a two on and nobody out situation.
Murray knows that his team will need more of the same if it hopes to break the three-way tie for conference championship at the end of the year.
"We've got experience on this team from when we made our run last year, and the seniors are helping the younger guys," he said. "We've got great chemistry and that helps in the long run."