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Silence is golden: Pitcock no-hits South Central, Boone Grove forges tie atop the PCC

By JIM PETERS


PORTER TOWNSHIP -- One of the time-honored superstitions in baseball is the belief that it's bad luck to talk about a no-hitter as it's happening.

So when Seth Pitcock's teammates weren't saying much to him in between innings Monday, the Boone Grove junior didn't take it personally.

"I knew, I just kept it out of my mouth," Pitcock said. "I didn't want to jinx it. Dugouts are for sure like that. One of teammates was like, I want to tell you something, but I can't tell you."

The silence was golden for Pitcock, who finished off the first no-no of his pitching career, blanking South Central in a 9-0 Wolves win that forged a tie between the teams atop the Porter County Conference.

"I've always been a pretty good strikeouts guy," said Pitcock, who struck out nine and walked two. "My fastball was feeling good. I relied on my curve ball in different counts, a couple 3-2s. I knew they were going to put the bat on the ball. Danny (Veschak) made an amazing diving play on a foul ball, (shortstop) Javy (Carrera) with a bunch of saves. A five-run lead, I didn't have to worry about the extra runners on base as much, just focusing on the batter. The start of the season, we had a couple bumps, right now, it's picking up."

The first six Wolves batters reached base against Tommy Sullivan, a potential double play on a ground ball winding up no outs to set up the Carreras to do damage. Davian singled in two and Javy homered for another pair to make it 5-0.

"We were ready to go," Boone coach Sean Riley said. "We knew they'd have a chip on their shoulder. Last year, they beat us in the regular season, then we pounded them in the (PCC) tournament. We've had games where we've pitched well and couldn't hit. We lost to Lowell 2-1 and had four hits. We one-hit Chesterton and lost. Our biggest struggle has been throwing strikes. Hebron, we walked six and hit six. Bishop Noll, we walked 17 and hit seven and won. We've hit 23 guys and walked 87. That's 110 free bases. (Pitcock) had a plan and he threw strikes. He commanded his pitches. We've just been hitting the shot out of the ball. We're peaking at the right time."

Winners of eight in a row, Boone (12-4, 6-1) couldn't land the knockout punch after going up 8-0 in the second, when Veschak singled in two more, but SC never posed even the mildest of threats, reaching second base just once.

"We were excited to play, but I think that first punch, we talked about it, we've got to learn how to bounce back, get up and throw our punch," Satellites coach Brent Jones said. "Tommy's one of our best arms. He's going to get his opportunities. They were timing him up. (Pitcock) had a sense of confidence to him. He was attacking us from first pitch to last pitch. We never made him uncomfortable. We never got comfortable in the box. We were trying to feel for hits, not being our normal, aggressive selves. He was mixing on us, his velo was there, he competed."

Ward and Nolan Eaton held Boone to one run after the second inning, allowing SC to extend the game.

"Colin's a three-sport athlete, he's started in every sport, he's been around competition," Jones said. "We knew we could put him in there and he was going to compete, he's not going to give in, he's going to work."

If recent form holds, the teams will meet again in next week's conference tournament final, as they have the last two years. South Central (10-6, 6-1) won in 2022 after losing to Boone in the regular season and the script was flipped last spring.

"It's one of those feelings where you're going to probably be more joyful at the end of the season," Jones said. "All of our goals are still ahead of us. We can't mourn this loss like it's the end of the season because it's not. I know we're disappointed, but we're keeping our mojo, we'll be ready to go."

For Ryan, who came on as an assistant last season, taking over a loaded, all-underclass team that came within three outs of upsetting 3A state champion Andrean in the 2023 sectional has been understandably fun.

"We start a freshman and three sophomores," he said. "We're not afraid to play small ball. We play teams that struggle defensively, we've got to make them make plays. They bought into it. Coming here last year, Stein (John Steinhilber) called me a couple times. There was no way. (He said,) just come meet the guys. No way, I'm a Hebron guy. We got run out of town at Hebron anyway, so we were done with it. Now I'm all Boone. It's pretty sweet."



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