Winning the duel : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Winning the duel|
|Milne gets no-decision after Oswego baseball team scores game-winner in eighth |
|by Christine Bolin|
There's nothing like a pitcher's duel between two players who consider themselves good friends.
That was the scenario on Monday, when junior right-hander Jake Roehn from Sandwich started against junior lefty Alex Milne from Oswego.
Both were impressive, but both earned the no-decision after the Panthers topped Sandwich, 1-0, in eight innings in Oswego.
"We've been talking this game up for about a week now," said Milne, who plays on the same summer baseball team as Roehn. "We knew it was going to be a good game, and I was just happy I had the chance to pitch against him."
"Pitcher's duels are so much fun, I love them," Roehn added. "It's fun. You get the adrenaline going. With every pitch, anything can happen. One base hit can lead to the game-winner."
All the action, however, happened when Roehn and Milne were off the mound.
The run was scored in the bottom of the eighth inning off Sandwich reliever Eric Martinez. With two outs, Oswego's center fielder Nick Gerber was hit by a pitch. He advanced to third on a single from shortstop Tim Wodzisz, who later stole second. The next batter, right fielder Nick Wernke, was walked, and that loaded the bases.
With two outs, two balls and two strikes, the next batter, first baseman Chad Burdo, was hit by a pitch, and Gerber scored.
"We knew they had a good pitcher, so we knew we were going to have to scratch and claw any way we could to get a run," Oswego head coach Chris Neitzel added. "It's funny, though, because this is our third win (the others were against Plano and Naperville North), and every one of them has been ugly. I'd rather do that than look good and lose."
Neither Roehn nor Milne saw that many base runners in one inning, yet alone in the innings they pitched. Milne finished with 15 strikeouts, two walks and allowed no hits in seven full innings of work.
In Oswego's first game of the year - a 3-2 win over Plano - Milne threw five no-hit innings and struck out seven batters.
"He's just throwing so well," Neitzel said. "It's nice to see the control he's had. That's always been an issue. We've had him on and off varsity since his freshman year because he's a lefty who can throw, but he's always had control issues. But the last two games, he's thrown a lot of strikes, and that makes all the difference in the world."
"I felt good out there," Milne added. "My arm was working well and my teammates made the plays they had to make. I just wanted to throw strikes. They did their job, and I did mine."
As for Roehn, he ended up striking out 10, allowed four walks and two hits before he was taken out with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Gerber led Oswego off with a walk, stole second and reached third on an error, but Roehn was able to fan the next two batters, and the defense behind him got the third out.
"My team behind me, they were making plays," Roehn said.
"I know I wouldn't have done as good if it weren't for them."
Oswego second baseman Lucas Deceault got the first hit of the game on a bunt single that led off the third inning. In the fourth, Jose Camacho posted the second hit of game that allowed Burdo to get to second after he reached base on an error.
With Burdo on third and Camacho on second after a wild pitch with two outs, Roehn ended the inning with his seventh strikeout.
Roehn struck the first two batters of the fifth out and fanned his 10th and final in the sixth. That's when he gave up his third hit - a single from Wernke.
"He gave us all we could ask for," Sandwich head coach Jason Van Pelt said. "He threw strikes and gave us seven strong innings."
Martinez entered the game with two outs and Oswego pinch hitter, junior John Malatia, was up to bat. Martinez got out of the inning when Malatia popped out and ended the inning.
Milne ended up striking out eight of nine Sandwich batters at least once. He fanned two of the Indians' batters three times, and the defense behind him made no errors.
In three of the seven innings he threw, he struck out three batters. Every inning except the sixth ended with a strikeout. The three base runners he allowed - two were on walks, one was hit by a pitch - did not get past first base.
"I can't say enough about Alex," Neitzel said. "He was automatic."
Milne's reliever, junior Kelse Gengler, gave up Sandwich's only hit - a single from junior Trey Jansen - in the top of the eighth inning.
"We just couldn't get anyone on base," Van Pelt said. "(Milne) was throwing harder than anyone we've seen so far, so we kind of struggled."
Notes: In Oswego's second game of the year, the Panthers beat Naperville North, 5-3, on March 21. Senior Nick Gerber was the winning pitcher. In four innings, he gave up two runs and fanned 3 batters. He also went 2-for-4 and scored twice. Camacho went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
On Tuesday, the Panthers traveled to Naperville Central, where they fell to the Redhawks, 3-0. Gerber threw six strong innings, did not allow any earned runs and struck out five. Oswego is now 3-1 overall.
Today, Thursday, the Panthers head to Morris for a 4:30 p.m. contest. On Friday, Bolingbrook will host them at 4:30 p.m. before returning home on Saturday to face Aurora Central Catholic at 10 a.m.
Next Monday, the Panthers will host East Aurora at 4:30 p.m. and will begin Southwest Prairie Conference action next Tuesday at home against Plainfield North in the first of a three-game series beginning at 4:30 p.m.