By Chet Piotrowski
Mattoon struck out a combined 26 times and could not score in a doubleheader loss to Effingham on Saturday.
The Green Wave managed only six hits off Josh McDevitt and Brayden Pals in the 10-0 and 8-0 losses at Evergreen Park.
Mattoon drops to 2-7, while Effingham improves to 7-6.
McDevitt struck out 12 in the first game, allowing two hits and a walk in a complete-game six-inning win in the opener, 10-0.
The Green Wave left Blaine Powers stranded at first in the first inning as the junior drove a single up the middle for the first of Mattoon’s two hits. Senior Cooper Bergstrom was struck by a wild pitch the following inning. Kaden Junge garnered a single to advance Jason Skocy, pinch-running for Bergstrom, but Mattoon failed to bring them home.
McDevitt cruised the rest of the way, giving up only a walk to Camden Raddatz in the fourth inning.
Effingham scored twice in the second and third inning off Jackson Helms, prompting Mattoon head coach Jarod Kiger to bring in Logan MacDonald. MacDonald lasted one-third of an inning, giving up four runs and walking three before being replaced with Chandler Melton. Melton didn’t fare much better. The right-hander gave up two runs on three hits and three walks.
“We had opportunities early in the game,” Kiger said. “It doesn’t all come down to one (play), but when you have a kid like that you try to work that pitch count up a bit. We would have had bases loaded with one run in the first inning. The call didn’t go our way. It doesn’t make a difference. He (McDevitt) doesn’t need any help out there. He has command of his pitches, and, man, he has really improved from last year to this year in having an out pitch. When you’re throwing as hard as he is, that secondary pitch makes him a special pitcher.”
Kiger didn’t feel Effingham was getting solid hits, but rather took advantage of what they were given.
“They were getting some of those bloop hits early,” he said. “They squared up a couple balls, but not a lot of super hard hit balls – but opportunistic hitting, putting the ball in play and finding the gaps. That’s what you have to do. They took advantage of those opportunities in getting guys on base. They played much better than what we did.”
It went from bad to worse in the second game.
“We made some mistakes in bad situations,” Kiger said about the two games, “and they took full advantage of it.”
Brayden Pals scattered four hits while walking one and striking out 14 Green Wave batters for an 8-0 win in the second game.
Mattoon’s Christian Larson lasted one-third of an inning, giving up seven runs on three hits and two walks. Jarrett Muchow came on in relief and stabilized the ship, pitching 4 2/3 solid innings allowing one run on one hit and a walk while striking out seven. By then, the damage had been done.