ALGONQUIN – Jacobs pitcher Brenden Heiss showed his coaches and teammates a lot against Johnsburg on Friday.
The Skyhawks’ No. 3 hitter, Collin Ridout, took Heiss deep for a two-run home run in the first inning, but Heiss was undaunted.
“That was kind of tough, I kept fighting back and we got the runs back,” said Heiss, who allowed only two more hits, both infield singles, through five innings. “I just had to keep battling. It was tied at 3-3 and we got a big inning, and I had to keep throwing strikes.”
While Heiss held Johnsburg in check, Skyhawks pitchers did not have the same fortune. The Golden Eagles tagged Johnsburg with eight runs in the fourth inning of a 13-4 Fox Valley Conference crossover baseball victory at Jacobs.
“He had a little adversity in the beginning, he gave up that home run,” said Jacobs coach Jamie Murray, whose team is 8-4 overall, 4-0 in the FVC Valley Division. “He could have got upset.
"He knows how to pitch, he has some qualities you can’t teach. He did it on the football field for coach [Bill] Mitz, he just wants to win. To get beat by Ridout, who’s as good a bat as there is in this area, and come back and battle the rest of the game, that’s what I like about him.”
The sophomore right-hander started at defensive end for the Eagles in football and may be their starting quarterback this fall. Murray says Heiss’ maturity and plus fastball will serve him well.
“Definitely, my fastball today, that’s my main pitch,” Heiss said. “I felt like I threw that palm ball [to Ridout] pretty well, it was almost in the dirt.”
Johnsburg (3-6, 1-2 FVC Fox) tied the score without hitting a ball out of the infield in the third inning, but the Eagles removed any doubt about the outcome in the fourth. Daniel Tenayuca walked with one out and Ryan Sargent ripped a Kevin Kordik fastball down the left-field line for a double, the first of five consecutive RBI hits.
“We have that potential every game,” Sargent said. “We have to consistently put it together. Today, we did that as a whole, the whole lineup was hitting. It felt good. I’ve been in a slump a little bit, I just tried to stay loose and not think too much at the plate.”
Three passed balls, three errors and five hits led to the Eagles’ eight runs. Johnsburg coach Sam Lesniak hopes his team will use that as a learning experience.
“We had some adversity and we folded,” Lesniak said. “We felt sorry for ourselves for the first time this year. We allowed a losers’ mentality to take over. That was the worst inning we’ve played all year. We weren’t mentally tough enough to get past the adversity.”