Case of the missing bats
KANELAND—To win on the baseball or softball field, many things have to go right.
For a no-hitter or perfect game to be thrown, pitches have to go right past the bats with regularity.
Area residents have been privy to each of those if they’ve ventured out to see Kaneland baseball and softball this 2014 campaign, with softball talent Angie Morrow’s no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader at Geneva on April 19, and baseball’s Nate Hopkins tossing a no-no at Plano April 9, and sophomore hurdler Matt O’Sullivan’s perfect game for the lower-class level Knights against Yorkville last week.
For Morrow, this pitching feat was nothing new, having thrown a no-hitter against the Hampshire Whip-purs her freshman year as a Burlington Central Rocket. Morrow was able to keep composure during the 3-0 win.
“I had one my freshman year against Hampshire at Burlington. Those games don’t feel different. You don’t usually realize it until someone tells you. I just try to stay within myself,” Morrow said.
The very act of pitching and concentrating can almost serve as a distraction from the daunting task.
“There’s always something you’re working on, and it’s until the end of the game when it’s over and someone says congratulations,” Morrow said.
For Hopkins’ 11-0 win in Plano against the Reapers, the Knights saw no-hit stuff from Hopkins in the six-inning affair, but it was a multi-faceted victory.
“I feel like defense is definitely a big part of it,” Hopkins said. “There was a play at shortstop that saved my no-hitter and really helped me.”
It made for a memorable April Wednesday.
“I think I was dealing, and I feel like I was going really well, and the team’s not supposed to say anything during the game. I didn’t even know there were no hits until the sixth inning.”
Elements from multiple areas need to converge for the noteworthy achievement.
“A no-hitter or perfect game takes a lot to happen,” KHS varsity baseball head coach Brian Aversa said. “It’s not just the pitcher, but defense is very important, as well. You need a few things to go your way. Joe Panico made a diving stop up the middle to save a hit at short. You need to catch a break or two. I think no-hitters are a culmination of many things, not just someone going out there and throwing well.”
KHS also got a glimpse of what could be on the horizon with a “perfecto” tossed by lefty sophomore Matt O’Sullivan against Yorkville last Thursday.
The 21-up, 21-down effort went 11-0 in the favor of the Knights, with O’Sullivan aware of the Foxes’ tendencies.
“The game before, we kind of saw and learned they liked to chase the high stuff,” O’Sullivan said. “I tried to get ahead in the count and then throw the high stuff.”
The sophomore knows that it’s a team effort for a perfect result.
“You’ve got to have defense. There were a couple of diving catches. There’s no way that a no-hitter’s possible without it,” O’Sullivan said.
With the recent rash of exceptional pitching accomplishments, the Kaneland baseball and softball programs have shown what’s possible with all aspects working on the diamond.