Pennock tosses no-hitter as Saukees sweep doubleheader from Warriors


Pittsfield right-hander Justin Pennock warms up between innings during Saturday's game against Calhoun in Pittsfield, Ill. Pennock tossed a no-hitter in the 1-0 victory. | Photo courtesy Jack Hull

PITTSFIELD, Ill. — Justin Pennock wasn’t overly confident he have unhittable control as he warmed up Saturday morning.

“Honestly, not really,” said Pennock, a senior right-hander on the Pittsfield baseball team. “I was still a little bit sore. I thought if I hit spots I’d be all right.”

He hardly missed one.

Pennock faced just batters over the minimum, tossing a no-hitter in a 1-0 victory over Calhoun in the first game of a doubleheader. The Saukees completed the sweep with a 15-1 victory in the nightcap as Pennock, playing shortstop, drove in three runs.

“The energy is great,” Pennock said after the Saukees improved to 8-1 overall. “Instead of waiting until late in the game to have a big inning, we’re trying to come out early from the first inning and be loud and get things rolling for ourselves. Everyone fights. Nobody gets down on themselves. We just keep rolling.”

That was his approach on the mound.

“I just thought about trying to hit low spots and have them hit ground balls and let the defense help me out,” Pennock said. “It takes a lot off of you knowing the defense is behind you. It makes you relax. You know you’re going to have guys making plays, so if you do let one up, they’re going to be there to back you up.”

Pennock retired the first 11 batters he faced, getting four flyouts, four groundouts and two lineouts to go with a strikeout. The Warriors’ first baserunner came with two outs in the fourth when Zipprich was hit by a pitch.

Calhoun’s Goode reached on a dropped third strike leading off the fifth, but Pennock retired the final nine batters he faced. He struck out the first two batters in the top of the seventh before catching a pop-up in foul territory to end the game and complete the no-hitter.

“I paid no attention to it,” Pennock said of his no-hit bid. “I just pitched good and then we’d go in and hit. The next thing I know, when the game got over, they told me.”

Pennock struck out seven and walked none. And no one mentioned the no-hitter in the dugout at any time.

“They were superstitious,” Pennock said. “We all are. We all have our own thing. They didn’t say anything.”

The Saukees gave him all the run support he needed in the fourth when Gratton led off with a walk, took second on a passed ball and went to third on Tim Hull’s sacrifice. After a groundout forced Gratton to stay at third, Luke Archer delivered an RBI double to right field to plate the only run.

Archer went 2 for 3 as two Calhoun pitchers limited Pittsfield to five hits.

That wasn’t the case in the nightcap. The Saukees piled up 10 hits, took advantage of seven walks and never trailed after scoring eight runs in the bottom of the first inning.

With one out in the first, Brennan Tomhave walked and Pennock was hit by a pitch. They both advanced with stolen bases and Tomhave scored on a balk. Konner Allen drove in Pennock with a single up the middle to get the merry-go-round started.

Hull had a two-run double, Tomhave had an RBI single and Pennock capped the inning with a two-run double. Tomhave, Allen and Hull each had two hits as the Saukees finished with four doubles.

Clayton Reinhardt pitched the first three innings, allowing one run and two hits with two strikeouts and three walks to earn the victory. Kyle Bradshaw allowed one hit over the final two innings.

The Saukees are scheduled to play host to Mendon Unity (5-2) at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

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