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Prep Sports

Cru's superb pitching, clutch hits beat Amboy

Marquette pitcher Bryce Foster grits his teeth while firing a fastball in the fourth inning of Wednesday's game against Amboy at Masinelli Field. Foster was terrific, throwing seven innings of one- hit baseball before leaving in what would become a 2-1, eight-inning Crusader win.
Marquette pitcher Bryce Foster grits his teeth while firing a fastball in the fourth inning of Wednesday's game against Amboy at Masinelli Field. Foster was terrific, throwing seven innings of one- hit baseball before leaving in what would become a 2-1, eight-inning Crusader win.
OTTAWA — There is nothing better in high school baseball than two pitchers squaring off in a well-played game, each one deserving to have his team come out of it in the win column.
That thing of beauty went Marquette Academy's way here at Masinelli Field on Wednesday afternoon, and it was almost all Bryce Foster's "fault."
Foster allowed just one hit to Amboy's very first batter of the game and didn't allow another through all seven innings he pitched, striking out nine and walking just two. However, the Crusaders senior left with the game tied at 1-1 because of the effort of the Clippers' Hunter Zimmerly, who like his opposite number gave up just one hit and struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings.
But ultimately, clutch hitting by the Crusaders won out in the bottom of the eighth inning when a double by No. 9 hitter Kyle Cook and a walk-off single by Nate Melvin gave the home squad an exciting 2-1 victory.
Marquette finished with five hits, four coming off Amboy losing pitcher Justin Hart, while Max Mitchell got the win by finishing off the two-hitter with a scoreless top of the eight for the Cru, now winners of all six games they've played this season.
"It was two good pitchers going at it, and that's always great to see," said Marquette coach Todd Hopkins. "Bryce threw a great game, kept them off-balance. He wasn't trusting his curveball today, but he threw hard and hit his spots when he needed to. He didn't have his best stuff, but he gutted one out, and Max came in and did his job ... and I thought their starter (Zimmerly) was fabulous, too. One of the best high school pitchers — I don't mean throwing 90, but getting his breaking ball over where he wanted it, commanding the zone — and he's only a junior. His breaking ball is unbelievable.
"We struck out a bunch of times today, and while he's legit we also worked counts, fouled balls off, did a good job of getting his pitch count up. Their other kid did well, too, but we were able to square a few balls up.
"We're fortunate to get the win."
Hart, oddly enough, got both of the Clippers hits, that single to center field leading off the first frame and a bad-hop single to left off Mitchell in the eighth. In between, Foster was superb. After Hart was thrown out stealing by MA catcher Zach Dyche, the Cru right-hander walked a batter, then retired 17 of the next 18 batters he faced. The only one reaching was No. 9 hitter Reece Vaessen when he was hit by a pitch with one out in the third.
But Marquette struggled as badly with Zimmerly, who allowed no hits and only three baserunners in 18 home hitters through one out in the sixth.
Then the Clipper ace blinked. Melvin skied a one-out double to left-center and, now with two out against Hart, Komater drove him home with another two-bagger to the same spot.
Amboy wouldn't let Foster get away completely unscathed, using a walk and steal by McLaughlin, a Crusaders error and a sacrifice fly by Maverick Lindemeyer to tie the score.
It stayed that way until the eight when Cook led off with a double to right-center. Hopkins was going to have Melvin bunt Cook to third with no outs, but with a 3-1 count he let his leadoff hitter swing away, and that trust paid off with the winning hit to right.
"That's just the way the cookie crumbles sometime. You can throw one heckuva game, but you knew somebody was going to have to win it eventually," said Amboy coach Chris Tidmore. "Hunter had been struggling a little bit with his location, leaving pitches up and getting hit, but he seemed to find it today and everything was on for him. When he's on, we think he can compete with anybody out there. ...
"Today it was just our turn to lose a great game like this."
At Masinelli Field, Ottawa
Marquette 2, Amboy 1 (8 inn.)
(Key: AB-R-H-RBI)
AMBOY (1) — Hart rf-p 4-0-2-0, Kemp 2b 4-0-0-0, McLaughlin c 2-1-0-0, Zimmerly p-1b 3-0-0-0, Lindemeyer 1b-ss 2-0-0-1, Whelchel cf 3-0-0-0, Henkel ss-rf 2-0-0-0, Pistitello lf 1-0-0-0, Latta lf 1-0-0-0, Thier lf 1-0-0-0, Vaessen 3b 2-0-0-0. Totals 25-1-2-1.
MARQUETTE (2) — Melvin ss 4-1-2-1, Killelea 1b 3-0-0-0, Komater cf 2-0-1-1, Foster p-3b 1-0-0-0, Dougherty cr 0-0-0-0, Dyche c 2-0-0-0, Price dh 3-0-0-0, McAlpine 3b 0-0-0-0, Mitchell p 0-0-0-0, Snook rf 3-0-1-0, Couch 2b 2-0-0-0, Cook lf 3-1-1-0. Totals 23-2-5-2.
Amboy (1-4)  000 000 10—  1 2 0
Marquette (6-0)   000 001 01 — 2 5 2
LOB — Amboy 5, Marquette 4. 2B — Melvin, Komater, Cook. SF — Lindemeyer. SB — McLaughlin, Komater. HBP — Henkel, Vaessen (by Foster), Dyche (by Zimmerly).
Amboy    ip r er h bb k
Zimmerly 5.2 1 1 1 3 9
Hart (L) 1.1 1 1 4 1 0
Marquette
Foster 7.0 1 0 1 2 9
Mitchell (W) 1.0 0 0 1 0 2
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