Johnsonburg shuts down Kane in 10-0 rout
JOHNSONBURG – A trio of Johnsonburg pitchers combined for a 1-hit shutout Thursday at Knothole Area Recreational Park at the Rams won a 10-0 5-inning game against visiting Kane.Johnsonburg exploded for a 7-run third inning to secure the win while Kane's lone hit was a clean leadoff single to right field from Andrew Peterson."Our pitching is tough as we've been working on that a lot," said Johnsonburg head varsity baseball coach Jeff Peterson following the win. "We're probably 5-deep with Cole [Peterson], Mitchell [Holmberg], Quinn [Luhr], and C.J. Herbstritt is going to throw for us, he has some zip, then Cameron [Grumley] can pitch, too, and they can all throw strikes. "It's not a 'walk-fest'; we have people who can throw strikes and I don't care if we blow anybody away-- we have a good defense."Johnsonburg's bats aren't too bad either.Holding an early 3-0 lead after two innings, the Rams plated seven runs in the home half of the third inning to take a 10-0 lead. Holmberg started the action with a single and advanced to second base on a throwing error from left field. Luhr was then walked before Herbstritt stroked a bloop single to shallow left-center field to load the bases.A groundout from Frank Kocjancic brought in Holmberg for a 4-0 lead and prompted a pitching change from Kane head varsity baseball coach Mark Kossack."Our starting pitcher had a couple good innings of work," coach Kossack said. "We had to watch [Park's] pitch count and because of the cold weather also."With relief pitcher Jeff Kocjancic on the hill, Kyle Sheldon garnered a free pass to again load the bases-- Devon Zilcoski followed for the Rams and also walked to bring home Luhr to take a 5-0 advantage. After Dylan DeLong struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, Johnsonburg rattled off five more runs with two outs on the board.Peterson tapped a sharply-hit grounder that was mishandled at second base which allowed Herbstritt and Sheldon to come home for a 7-0 lead. Grumley followed with a long double to bring in Zilcoski and Cole Peterson, pushing the lead to nine runs. Grumley would steal third base during the next at-bat and later scored on a Holmberg single for the team's 10th run. After another walk to Luhr, his second free pass of the game, Herbstritt went down swinging.Peterson started the game on the hill for the Rams and turned in a 1-2-3 inning with a diving stop on a hit back to the mound from Tyler Ennis for the game's first out. Peterson followed up with two strikeouts against Andrew Pierson and Jeff Kocjancic.Johnsonburg jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning as free passes came back to haunt the Wolves. Peterson would walk to open the inning and swiftly stole second and third bases as Grumley worked the count at the plate. Grumley would later strike an offering into the outfield to plate Peterson for a 1-0 lead.With Holmberg at the plate, Grumley stole second base and advanced to third on the play after an error at shortstop. After Holmberg hit a flyout to shortstop, Luhr reached on another error at short as Grumley came in for a 2-0 lead. Herbstritt would reach by a walk but the Rams were doubled up after Frank Kocjancic lined out to center on a hit-and-run play; Luhr was out at second on the 8-5 double play to end the inning.Holmberg came in to pitch the second inning but a single from Andrew Peterson gave Kane their first baserunner of the day. Holmberg would regroup quickly as the Rams rattled off two 4-3 groundouts as Peterson camped out at third base. Tyler Burdick struck out swinging to end the inning.Sheldon tagged a leadoff single to right field to open up the bottom of the second inning and later reached third base after an error on the catcher during a stolen base.With Sheldon on third base, Zilcoski hit a hit foul ball that was caught by Kane catcher Loren Kumher for the first out of the inning. DeLong followed with a 1-3 groundout that again stranded Sheldon at third but the speedy Peterson laid down a 2-out infield bunt single to plate the Rams' third run."I thought we hit the ball well," coach Peterson said. "Devon Zilcoski had a nice hard hit and I'm looking for something out of my bottom three. Kyle Sheldon hit the ball real hard [Thursday], twice he had some hard hits. [Zilcoski] is coming along. "The season is young but it's coming and Elk County Catholic will be a good game for us [Monday] to see what we have. We'll take a win however we can get it-- we're young but we're a veteran team-- our players have been around for a while now."Searching for a run, Kane got the leadoff man aboard again as Andrew O'Rourke was walked. Holmberg, however, regrouped to catch Jack Kocjancic looking and later Ennis swinging. A walk to Pierson but two runners on with two outs and after the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, Holmberg caught Jeff Kocjancic looking at strike three to end the threat."Our top three pitchers got to throw so that was a good thing," coach Peterson said. "I look forward to seeing C.J. [Herbstritt] pitch."After the Rams' big 7-run third inning, Kane was unable to regroup to fend off the 10-run, 5-inning mercy rule. Andrew Peterson hit a flyout to left field for the first out of the fourth inning and Kumher later tagged a soft lineout to Cole Peterson at shortstop. The Rams ran into a little bit of trouble after Dan Park was walked and Zach Scholl hit a grounder that went under Cole Peterson's glove for an error. With two runners on, Holmberg caught O'Rourke looking at strike three.Pierson came on to pitch the bottom of the fourth inning for Kane and fared well, allowing only a 1-out single to Sheldon. Frank Kocjancic hit a groundout to first base for an unassisted out. After the Sheldon single, Zilcoski hit a sharp lineout to centerfield and Luke Shreffler got under a ball that was caught by the third baseman in foul territory."Devon Zilcoski had a nice hard hit and I'm looking for something out of my bottom three," coach Peterson said. "Kyle Sheldon hit the ball real hard [Thursday], twice he had some hard hits. [Zilcoski] is coming along. "The season is young but it's coming and Elk County Catholic will be a good game for us [Monday] to see what we have. We'll take a win however we can get it-- we're young but we're a veteran team-- our players have been around for a while now."Luhr come on to pitch the top of the fifth inning and struck out Jamie Ligenfelter to open up the action. After Kevin Cleer drew a 1-out walk, Luhr regrouped to get Derek Bundy to strike out swinging and Ryan Swanson looking for end the inning, and the game."We've been hitting well in the cage and Johnsonburg pitches very well," coach Kossack said. "We've been up against a couple of teams that have pretty good arms. We do have a young team but with every game, we're going to get better and better. "It's been a rough couple of games to get started and we've gone up against some very good pitching."