16th-inning bunt propels Prairie Ridge past McHenry

McHenry — The Prairie Ridge baseball team wasn’t expecting to play its first night game of the season until next week. But a funny thing happened in its Fox Valley Conference game against McHenry at Petersen Park on Friday night.

In total it was nearly five hours of baseball, zero runs for 15 innings, and more innings played than combined team hits in the Wolves’ 1-0 victory in 16 innings.

“Somebody win this game, please, so I can go home and got to bed,” Prairie Ridge coach Glen Pecoraro said. “I’ve never seen this before, longest game in 20 years of coaching, there are no words.”

The Wolves granted their coaches wish in the top of the 16th. With one out, Kyle Buresch and Austin Covers walked before Jack Myers had his third hit of the game to load the bases for Cal Aldridge.

Aldridge laid down a suicide bunt with two strikes that was good enough to score Buresch from third. The run held up as Jon Tieman (2-1) (Prairie Ridge’s fourth pitcher of the night) shut down the Warriors for the win.

“That was such a long game, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Aldridge said. “It was great for coach to have the confidence in me to get that bunt down.”

The game was dominated by pitching from the start. Prairie Ridge starter Ben Cilano struck out five of the first seven batters he faced. He pitched six innings allowing just two hits and striking out six.

Matt Mohapp was next in for the Wolves pitching two innings of three-hit ball. Covers pitched five innings giving up just one hit and Tieman finished the game with three innings allowing just one hit.      

The Wolves were matched by McHenry’s pitchers for 15 innings. Starter Cody Freund pitched the first seven innings, giving up just two hits and striking out six. Robert Nagel relieved Freund, going seven innings, allowing just five hits and striking out four.

Freshman Bobby Miller eventually took the loss for the Warriors, ending the marathon.

The teams combined for 15 hits in 16 innings of play.

“How much more can they do as a pitching staff throwing zeroes for 16 innings, and we can’t even get them one run,” Pecoraro said. “Both team’s pitching was fantastic and there were some great defensive plays out there as well.”

Buresch was 3 for 6 with the only run of the game and the only extra-base hit of the game, a double in the ninth inning. Myers was 3 for 6 for Prairie Ridge.

The win kept the Wolves (15-16, 11-6 FVC) in the hunt for the Conference championship and was a setback for the Warriors (17-10, 10-6 FVC), which came into play Friday a game out of first. The two teams will face off again at 10 a.m. Saturday in Crystal Lake.

The Warriors’ 1 through 3 hitters were a combined 2 for 24 in the game, as they struggled to get any offense going. Nagel was 2 for 7 to lead the team.

“It was a good game, for both teams,” McHenry coach Brian Rockweiler said. “I think all our pitchers did a tremendous job, you can’t ask much more out of them. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively today.”

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