WOODSTOCK – Alex Ferguson wasn't having any difficulty finding the strike zone Friday afternoon, but even when he missed, the result was the same.
The Woodstock junior effectively blended his fastball, curve and an wicked change-up – all of which Woodstock North hitters couldn't catch up with. Ferguson struck out 14 in a complete-game, two-hitter as the Blue Streaks cruised to a 5-0 Fox Valley Conference Fox Division victory.
Ferguson allowed a leadoff single to Julian Zack, who also reached on a 6th inning single. But otherwise, Ferguson kept the Thunder guessing and unable to do anything against him in what was easily his best outing of the spring.
The Streaks (5-7, 3-7 FVC) produced just enough timely hitting to build a lead before putting the game out of reach with two fifth-inning runs. Ferguson, however, didn't need much.
"I worked well and I worked low well," Ferguson said. "I hit my spots kind of where I wanted to and the off-speed was really working. It just all flowed today. It felt good."
Woodstock put two quick runs up in the first inning, pounding out four hits – including RBI singles by Andy Buhrow and Zach Kamin. Eric Bell also drove in a pair of runs while the Streaks also used a bases-loaded walk to close out their scoring.
The Thunder (1-9, 0-7 FVC) struggled to get anything going, twice putting two runners on, but unable to produce any runs thanks to Ferguson's pitching. Ferguson struck out the side three different innings, including in the seventh to close out the win.
"We struggle a little bit with offense and we see some velocity off him today," North coach Ian Rago said. "You've got to give him credit. Look at the way he threw the ball. He controlled the game. He was basically the game today."
As solid as Ferguson was, Woodstock generated its fair share of offense. Buhrow had two hits, highlighting a seven-hit attack that was impacted by gusty winds blowing in that kept the ball up in the air, stripping hitters of what would have otherwise been extra-base hits.
The Streaks have finally started to find some offensive rhythm, which they believe may be coming around just in time to generate some wins in the final weeks of a regular season that's been cut short by cold temperatures and plenty of rain.
But on Friday, everything came together.
"If we play like this all year, we can play with any team out there," Buhrow said. "Once we start hitting the ball and we get pitching like we did [from Ferguson], we'll be all right."