Baseball: Prairie Ridge freshman cools off Jacobs
Prairie Ridge freshman lefthander Karson Stiefer's first varsity victory should have provided him with a lifetime memory.
The youngster locked up in a pitchers' duel with Jacobs' Nathan Chapman and hung right with the Golden Eagles' Eastern Illinois-bound ace.
Stiefer held Jacobs to one unearned run over five innings, struck out four and got the win Friday evening to give the Wolves a 3-2 victory and a split with the Eagles in their Fox Valley Conference baseball series.
The teams finished a suspended game Friday before starting the regularly scheduled contest. Chapman threw the final two innings of the first game, a 6-2 Jacobs win, then started the second game.
"It was scary. It was good competition. I like the competition, it was fun," Stiefer said. "I was just executing pitches, my curveball was working well today. Pitching to contact, nothing special, just trusting my defense to make plays for me. I was hitting my spot with it, it had good spin."
Wolves coach Glen Pecoraro said Stiefer pitched well enough since being called up from the sophomore team to be 3-0.
"Chapman's an outstanding pitcher. We were lucky to beat him," Pecoraro said. "I was real proud of Karson. You notice his composure on the mound.
"I was really happy with our guys' at-bats against Chapman. We went to hunt the fastball so we didn't have to hit the curveball. It worked out for us with a couple of big hits. And they made a mistake there to give us that extra run, thankfully."
Prairie Ridge's Tyler Vasey doubled with one out in the third and Zach Bentsen singled. Jack Tobin's sacrifice fly brought in Vasey and Mason McKim singled two batters later to score Bentsen.
The Wolves (6-12, 4-7 FVC) added an unearned run in the fifth. Tobin got the last six outs for the save.
"We battled well with two strikes early in the game," Tobin said. "We timed up his fastball. Having the freshman on the bump, doing that, was insane. I needed to shut that down for him. He deserves the win."
Tobin came in with runners on first and second in the top of the sixth and the Wolves up, 3-1. A ground ball moved each runner up and a wild pitch allowed one run in. But Tobin finished with a strikeout and a tapper back to the mound to keep it at 3-2.
"(Chapman) did a good job. We were in a tough spot where you finish a suspended game, then have to do it all over 15 minutes later," Eagles coach Jamie Murray said. "That adds a little break in the routine. He's a veteran, he competed out there today. We're in the process of figuring some things out and trying to get better.
"Their pitcher did a fantastic job keeping us off-balance. We have to do a better job adjusting and understanding situational hitting and moving guys over. Things we can get better at."