CRYSTAL LAKE – Prairie Ridge third baseman-pitcher Jon Tieman is the high school equivalent of the major leagues’ Triple-A call-up.
Tieman was promoted from the sophomore team last week when third baseman Cal Aldridge underwent surgery for his broken nose and pitcher Ethan Routzahn learned an elbow injury had ended his season.
Tieman is likely to stick with the big club, especially after the performance he turned in Wednesday against Marian Central. The sophomore right-hander only required a minimum of offensive support, which was fortunate since that was all the Wolves provided, as Prairie Ridge nipped the Hurricanes, 2-1, in their nonconference baseball game.
“We left it in Jon’s hands today, he threw a great game,” Prairie Ridge center fielder Chris Slack said. “We just knew we had to come up with a couple of runs to get him the ‘W’.”
Tieman (1-1) struck out four, allowed four hits and did not issue a walk, throwing 81 pitches for his first varsity victory. The Wolves, 9-9 and winners of seven of their last eight games, scraped up single runs in the fifth and sixth innings for their fifth consecutive win.
“I enjoyed how my teammates battled for me,” Tieman said. “That was nice to see. All my pitches were pretty good today. I was keeping them down in the zone and putting them where my catcher [Dustin Thelander] put the glove.”
Marian sophomore Kolton Rominski (1-2) was equally tough, allowing two hits and one earned run while knocking in the only run for the Hurricanes (3-8) with a third-inning sacrifice fly.
“I just had to keep my composure out there and hitting my spots,” Rominski said. “I’m kind of happy, I gave up a walk and scored a run, so that kind of makes me mad, but other than that I thought it was OK.”
Prairie Ridge score on Jack Myers’ single in the fifth, then scored again without a hit in the sixth. Slack walked to lead off the sixth and stole second.
“Coach [Glen Pecoraro] tells me to be aggressive,” Slack said. “I like to steal as many bases as possible. Danny [Pecoraro] faked a bunt and I was able to get a good jump and steal second base.”
Slack advanced to third on Danny Pecoraro’s bunt and scored when Marcus Sargeant lofted a fly ball to center field for the game-winning RBI.
“It’s kind of what we’ve had to do all year, manufacture and use the bunt game,” Wolves coach Glen Pecoraro said. “Slack’s one of our fastest guys, he’s done a nice job getting on the bases. Marcus has been outstanding all year, consistently our best hitter. We’re playing better and some of those close games are turning around now.”
Tieman, who threw a no-hitter in his last sophomore start, retired nine batters in a row before Marian catcher Zach Hoijer singled with two outs in the seventh. Pitching coach Andy Deain visited the mound and Tieman finished when Pat McCabe hit a line drive to left fielder Carson Getzelman.
“They were just faster than us,” Marian coach Benji Winkelman said. “We walked one of their fastest guys and you knew you were in trouble because they were going to steal. Kolton pitched great, he did not pitch like a sophomore. He pitched like a seasoned varsity baseball pitcher. I was very impressed.”