Baseball: Hats off to Carmel's Wiegman
It doesn't always require the perfectly placed, Division-I fastball or knee-buckling changeup to earn a tip of the cap.
Sometimes, for Ben Wiegman, it takes just removing his cap.
The junior pitcher says he will walk off the mound, lift the Carmel Catholic baseball lid off his head, wipe his brow and take a deep breath.
Wiegman needed to keep his composure in the seventh inning against visiting Marian Catholic on Saturday morning. He did, and Carmel, despite allowing 3 runs in the last inning, held on for a 6-4 victory.
Wiegman went the distance, throwing 104 pitches, 1 shy of his limit for the day as mandated by the IHSA. He allowed 5 hits -- three, including 2 doubles, in the seventh -- while striking out seven and walking four, as Carmel improved to 9-2 and 5-1 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
"It got interesting," the Louisville-bound Wiegman said. "I think throughout most of the game, up until the last inning, I had control of the zone. There were a few pitches that I thought were strikes that weren't called, but that's just part of the game. You really just got to grind through it and figure out what you have to do to get an out and overcome those tough situations."
Wiegman headed to the seventh up 6-1 but allowed a leadoff double to Dominick Angellotti. Given a second chance after a dropped foul popup, Chandler Kerr singled. Carmel coach Bill Taylor then popped out of the dugout, motioned to his infielders to remain at their positions and had a one-on-one visit with his 6-foot-3 righty.
All Taylor wanted to do was make sure Wiegman's "pre-pitch thoughts were in the right place" and that he knew the two runners on base meant nothing.
"A big part of being a successful pitcher is being able to regroup," Taylor said. "You're going to have battle through adversity, and you're going to have to deal with stuff that's not always your fault."
Wiegman proceeded to hit the next batter to load the bases. His errant pickoff throw to first base plated one run, and Pierce Jones' double knocked in two more. Wiegman, however, got a strikeout and groundout to his brother, shortstop Drew Wiegman, to end it.
"We seem to make it (interesting) a lot," Taylor said with a grin. "But we came out on top, so I'll take it. Credit to Ben. He had to throw extra pitches, and he made some big pitches at the end."
Wiegman, who picked a runner off first base earlier in the game, allowed 2 earned runs.
"It feels good," Wiegman said. "It also helps when you have a defense that will back you up. If you're trying to strike out every single guy, your arm is going to be done by the fifth or sixth inning."
As he proved, Wiegman still had good stuff in the seventh.
"He was throwing good, pounding the zone, just trying to let them hit it," Carmel catcher Kyle Grawe said. "We struggled a little bit in the (seventh) inning, but we've done it before where we've come back. I have trust in Ben to come back and get those tough outs with runners on base."
"If he doesn't keep his pitch count down early in the game, he doesn't get to finish that game," Taylor said. "The way he pitched earlier allowed him to cover up for mistakes made by us defensively."
Carmel had 9 hits, including two apiece by Jake Adams, Lukas Galdoni and Drew Wiegman. Sean Lynch Jr. had a 3-RBI single in the fifth to extend the Corsairs' lead to 6-1. Dylan Paquette contributed a run-scoring single.
Taylor thinks his team's best baseball is still ahead. His senior catcher agrees.
"I feel like we always have room to improve," said Grawe, who drew a hit by pitch in Carmel's 4-run fifth. "I just think everybody is doing their jobs right now, so we're on a good streak."