BY JOHN DUBOIS
Oakwood Comets coach Bob Sermak feels that when the weather starts to get better, senior Jake England will be an even better pitcher and Sermak said that is a scary thought for area hitters.
With a no hitter already to his credit this season, England struck out 16 while walking none and allowed 4 hits as the Comets got a run scoring infield hit from Kyle Girton in the bottom of the 9th to claim a hard fought 1-0 win over the Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman Buffaloes in a key Vermilion Valley Conference match-up.
England struck out the side in the ninth.
“I felt good at the beginning of the game, but I also felt that I was able to pick things up more as the game went on,” England said. “This was a big game for us and it was an accomplishment for me to have no walks. My fastball was moving well and I was able to locate all of my pitches.”
Sermak had faith in his senior to close out the game in extra innings.
“If that’s a younger guy, then no way he is still pitching and Jake would have come out after the 9th if we hadn’t scored,” Sermak said. “You trust your seniors when they say there good to go. Jake shows unbelievable character on the field and is a shut down pitcher who I think is one of the best pitchers in the area.”
Sophomore Rylee Goodwin started for the Buffaloes and got a no decision after going 7 1/3 innings, striking out 12 while walking 10, two of which were intentional. Goodwin allowed four hits and worked out of multiple jams.
“Rylee showed a lot of composure for a young pitcher,” said GRFC coach Chad Steinbaugh. “He was throwing to a freshman catcher and Ethan Sliva, who finished out the game for us, is also a freshman. This is a game they can all learn from and gain experience for the future.”
The Comets had two early scoring opportunities loading the bases in the second inning and getting runners on first and third with no outs in the third. The Buffaloes got a leadoff triple from Ryan Berry in the sixth, but England recovered to strike out the side.
“I didn’t want them to score,” England said. “I was able to lock things down and throw the ball where the catcher had his glove.”
The Buffaloes threatened again in the seventh when Kyle Coburn hit a deep shot to right field that Alex Anderson was able to hold on to after tumbling over the outfield fence.
“That was a game saving catch,” Sermak said. “Alex has been struggling at the plate but he plays a very good right field. He practices on diving after balls and gets to balls that a lot of guys wouldn’t get to.”
The Comets loaded the bases again in the seventh and threatened in the eight inning, before finally breaking through for the win when England, who reached base in all five plate appearances, walked and reached third on a single from Conor Jarling which set the stage for Girton.
“We aren’t executing right now offensively and not pushing runs across,” Sermak said. “It seems like every time we have been able to get hot this year, we have been rained out. We have struggled to get into any kind of groove, but hopefully we can play seven or eight games in a row and get going.”
The Buffaloes are hoping for the same.
“We had games scheduled everyday this week and everyday next week,” said Steinbaugh. “Our guys have been chomping at the bit to get out on the field and are ready to go.”
Both teams return to action today with home games. The Comets are 8-4, 5-2 VVC and will face Milford, while the Buffaloes drop to 8-3 and will face Bismarck-Henning.