Prairie Ridge’s Ben Cilano had never made a start on varsity before Friday afternoon. He showed why he deserved one and much more, striking out batter after batter.
The junior pitcher totaled 12 strikeouts, as the Wolves fell to Fremd, 1-0.
“I felt like I had good command of all my pitches today,” Cilano said. “I have a good defense behind me, which gives me a lot of confidence to throw strikes as well.”
Cilano allowed just three hits in six scoreless innings, exiting after escaping a tough sixth inning jam. After giving up a one out double to No. 9-hitter Jack Gill, Cilano struck out the next batter. He then threw a wild pitch, allowing Gill to move to third.
“I knew it was going to be my last inning,” Cilano said. “I just wanted to finish it out strong and not allow a run.”
He then struck out the next batter, but hit the one after that; this left Cilano with a first and third situation with two outs. After falling behind Fremd and Butler-bound first baseman Austin Jetel, 3-0, Cilano came back to strike out his final batter of the afternoon.
“We have been excited about Ben since Day 1,” Prairie Ridge coach Glen Pecoraro said. “This was his first varsity start, and we knew he had the potential to be something special.”
The game remained scoreless through six innings because of Fremd's pitching as well. Starter and Northwestern-bound Mack Rosman pitched 4.2 scoreless innings, striking out four and walking one.
Prairie Ridge threatened to score in the fifth inning when junior third baseman Cal Aldridge walked and stole second with one out. Rosman struck out the next batter before he was removed from the game. Reliever, and eventual winning pitcher, Anthony Douvris came in to get leadoff PR hitter Chris Slack to ground out to end the inning.
The scoreless game ended when Cilano was removed after six innings. The first batter reliever Jack Myers faced was Fremd catcher Ian Bohn. Bohn hit the second pitch from Myers over the left field fence for a home run.
The Wolves (0-4) got a single from catcher Dustin Thelander in the seventh, but failed to move him from first base.
“It’s never easy to lose a game 1-0,” Pecoraro said. “We are 0-4, but three of those games could have easily gone our way. We can build and learn from these losses.”