Baseball: Elk Grove's Rojahn, Hoffmann no-hit Schaumburg
X marked the spot and Boom Boom hit it for Elk Grove Monday in Schaumburg.
Xander Rojahn and Nick Hofmann combined for a no-hitter and Hofmann belted a grand slam home run as Elk Grove blew past Schaumburg 10-0 in five innings.
The duo combined for 9 strikeouts and allowed just one baserunner as each pitcher threw less than 45 pitches. That allows both of them to be eligible to pitch Thursday when Elk Grove (16-9, 13-3), the Mid-Suburban League East winner, hosts MSL West winner Barrington for the conference title.
The combined no-hitter caught Elk Grove coach Terry Beyna by surprise.
"I didn't know they did that," Beyna said. "We wanted to piece it together and put different guys on the mound. Xander, we wanted to get him out there a little bit and Nick has been good for us."
Rojahn went just over three innings on the hill. He retired the first 10 batters he faced, striking out five during his stint. He left after he hit a batter in the fourth with one out.
"I was feeling really good," said Rojahn, who recently signed to play at Xavier University. "The last few starts I have been racking up a lot of Ks. Today my curveball was working really, really well. I was able to locate it and I was able to hit my corners."
Hofmann came in to relieve Rojahn without missing a beat. After an infield groundout, he fanned the final four batters he faced.
"I felt nice and strong out there," Hofmann said. "I just wanted to throw strikes."
Hofmann did some nice striking with his bat as well. He led off the game with a double and scored on a bloop single by Zach Schwartz to make it 1-0.
It stayed that way thanks to some solid defense by Schaumburg (9-17, 4-12). The Saxons were able to get out of a pair of jams thanks to 2 double plays. Catcher Joe Unger also erased two Elk Grove runners the base paths.
Things turned sour quickly for Schaumburg in the fifth.
Elk Grove loaded the bases on a walk, an error and another walk. Hofmann, who had been struggling a bit the past couple of weeks, then blasted a 365-foot shot over the fence in left center to clear the bases.
"I was feeling really hungry with the bases loaded," Hofmann said. "I was just trying to drive some runs in. My swing hasn't felt good the last couple of weeks. I just connected with a middle-in pitch. That's what I needed."
The Grens continued the onslaught as Shane Crimmins tripled home a pair of runs. He was followed by singles by Josh Periaswamy, Joe Gaskill, Matt Crimmins and Mark Matos that produced 3 more runs.
"It was nice to see some guys who have been struggling get some good at-bats today," Beyna said. "It is coming at the right time,"
So is the pitching for Elk Grove. This is the second combined no-hitter that Rojahn has this season, working with Bobby Balzano earlier this year to halt Wheeling.
Elk Grove's pitching has been extremely dominant the past week. The Grens have not allowed a run for 20 consecutive innings and have allowed just 2 runs over the last 41 innings played.
"You have to credit Elk Grove's pitching staff for attacking our hitters," Schaumburg coach Cal Seely said. "It was a game until that crooked inning. Solo shots don't hurt you but grand slams do. Then the wheels fell off."