Craig baseball does everything right
Craig High coach Victor Herbst said the Cougars touched all the bases Tuesday en route to a 5-0 victory over visiting Madison West in a Big Eight Conference opener at Riverside Park.
Cougars' starter Brandon Hughes allowed one hit, walked one and struck out three. Craig made solid plays in the field, and Devin Feggestad's heady base running produced a key run to send the Cougars to the winner's circle.
"I harp on our guys all the time if you don't commit errors and don't walk guys, you can win baseball games," Herbst said. "We allowed one walk, and didn't commit an error."
Hughes pitched 4 2/3 hitless innings before West's Rock Cates singled just past the outstretched glove of Cougars' diving second baseman Riley Quinn. Hughes allowed a two-out walk to Cody Shively in the second inning, and he advanced to second on a passed ball, but Hughes ended the inning with a ground ball to the mound.
"My arm wasn't perfect for today, but it did the job," said Hughes, who threw 61 pitches in a nonconference game last Saturday. "I just wanted to pound (West) with fastballs."
Hughes threw 71 pitches in facing two batters over the minimum. He had 11 groundball outs and three strikeouts in going the distance.
Besides making his pitches, Hughes said he was thankful the Cougars did not kick the ball around.
"I want to thank my defense," Hughes said. "They had a lot of nice plays."
Hughes performance surprised Herbst.
"I have pretty good faith in (Hughes) but I'll be honest, I don't expect him to go out and throw one-hitters," Herbst said. "By my count, he had 71 throws, and when a high-school pitcher goes out and averages 10 pitches an inning, you are not going to lose many baseball games."
While Hughes and the Cougars' defense had the Regents buttoned down, the Craig offense produced five runs on seven hits, six coming in the second and third inning when Craig scored two and three runs, respectively.
Craig scored three runs on two hits and an error in the third inning with Feggestad, a courtesy runner, scoring on Brandon Luebke's grounder. Feggestad's crafty slide at the plate beat the tag of West catcher Shively to give Craig a 2-0 lead.
"That really got us going today," Herbst said. "That was him going all out, and if he goes in with a lazy slide, he is out. That was a huge boost for us to get us going."
Feggestad knew it was going to be a close play.
"I saw the catcher put his glove up, and I knew the ball was coming," Feggestad said. "I just dove around to the right (of the tag)."
Luebke, Tyler Campbell and Nate Hoag each notched RBIs to give Craig a 3-0 lead. Quinn and Leubke added RBI singles in the third for the 5-0 lead.
CRAIG 5, WEST 0
West (ab-r-h-rbi)—Westring, ss, 3-0-0-0; Marcus, lf, 3-0-0-0; Brown, cf, 3-0-0-0; Byers, 1b, 3-0-0-0; Fleischman, p, 3-0-0-0; Shively, c, 1-0-0-0; Cates, 2b, 2-0-1-0; Kutchenbecker, 2-0-0-0; James, 2-0-0-0. Totals: 22-0-1-0.
Craig (ab-r-h-rbi)—Wright, cf, 2-0-0-0; Blomgren, ss, 3-1-1-0; Quinn, 2b, 3-1-1-0; D. Hoskins, 3b, 3-1-1-0; Hughes, p, 3-0-0-0; Marro, c, 1-0-0-0; Feggestad, cr-lf, 1-1-0-0; Luebke, 1b, 2-0-2-2; Campbell, rf, 3-1-1-1; Hoag, lf, 2-0-1-1. Totals: 23-5-7-5.
Madison West 000 000 0—0
Janesville Craig 032 000 x—5
E—West 1. LOB—West 1, Craig 1. Sac—Hughes, Luebke. SB—D. Hoskins.