WILCOX – From the beginning of Monday's game, Smethport was overmatched and Cole Peterson was spectacular.
Peterson threw a no-hitter against Smethport in an 8-0 win in a winner's bracket game of the Elk County American Legion baseball playoffs.
Smethport had just one baserunner for the game and it came with two outs in the seventh inning as Zach Smith drew a walk which prevented a perfect game.
"It felt good, I pitched good, my defense helped me a lot. I just lost that last batter. I was really excited. I lost him but I got the no-hitter," Cole Peterson said. "I caught them off guard and then mixed it up with my fastball to come back and get them. They weren't expecting it."
Peterson struck out 11 as Smethport struggled to just get the ball out of the infield. Alex Myers had a line drive in the fifth inning which was caught in center field as Smethport's hardest hit ball of the night. Kenneth Doutt nearly reached on a ball hit down the first base line which was initially bobbled, but Josh Mitchell made the tag to keep Smethport out of the hit column.
"It's awesome, man," Wilcox coach Jeff Peterson said. "We were only going to run him four innings but he was throwing good and he felt real good. He had a no-hitter going so the guys and himself, they wanted it and we kept going. We made it right to the end. He's used to it, he's got a rubber arm and has thrown a lot.
"It's something to go after and he went after it and did a great job," coach Peterson said. "He really located and it was nice. A no-hitter, that don't happen very often this late in the season. I'm proud of the guy."
Offensively, Wilcox had two big innings which supplied the team's runs. In the first inning, Jesse Reynolds reached on a 1-out walk and then was awarded second on a balk by Smethport pitcher Nathan Wilber. A wild pitch then moved Reynolds to third and he scored on a double by Josh Mitchell. Joe Holmberg then reached on two Smethport errors at once. Holmberg hit a pop fly to the area between the pitcher and first base. Wilber and Smith ran into each other and dropped the ball. Wilber then threw the ball away trying to throw Holmberg out at first which allowed Mitchell to score.
Wilcox catcher Ben MacDonald singled to score Holmberg as Wilcox led 3-0 after the first inning.
"We put the bat on the ball early," coach Peterson said. "We still have that lapse where we shut down for a couple innings and we got to get rid of that. We got to work for a run every inning."
Wilcox then put the game out of reach with a 5-run fourth inning. Peterson was hit by a pitch for the second time to lead off the fourth and Taylor Feronti then walked. Smethport changed pitchers and inserted Kevin Lord. Mitchell Holmberg then reached on a squeeze play as Smethport tried to force out Feronti at second but could not throw him out in time. Peterson scored on the squeeze play. Mitchell then brought the power as he launched a 3-run home run with Feronti and Mitchell Holmberg aboard for a 7-0 lead. Mitchell had four RBI on the game.
Joe Holmberg kept the momentum going with a double, he scored as MacDonald belted a long RBI single to right center field for an 8-0 Wilcox lead. MacDonald finished with a 2 for 4 showing with two RBI.
After the fourth inning, Cole Peterson said he was supposed to be done pitching but with a perfect game intact at that point, he kept going.
"Yeah, I had it in my mind because my dad was going to take me out but I wanted to pitch because I had it going," Cole Peterson said. "The kids wanted me to keep it going too. I got the no-hitter but walked the one person."
Wilcox will play on Thursday against St. Marys at 5:30 p.m. at Jones Township Community Park in winner's bracket action.
St. Marys won 5-4 in 10 innings over Bradford.
Coach Peterson said Josh Mitchell will be the starting pitcher for Wilcox.