CJ Remmenga tosses no-hitter
CJ Remmenga was sick Friday.
No. Not the kind where you’re coughing, have a stuffy nose, and are bedridden.
His “sickness” was more along the lines of swing-and-miss stuff on the pitching mound.
“I don’t understand it at my age, but I know he had filthy stuff,” Five Points Bank head coach Kevin Asher said with a smile. “He says ‘I’m really sick today coach.’ ”
Remmenga’s illness led him to hurl a five-inning no-hitter to eliminate the Three Rivers Bandits, the Oklahoma state champions, from the Mid-South Regional tournament at Duncan Field with a 10-0 victory.
“I was in the bullpen (before the game) and making a little joke because I felt everything I had today,” Remmenga said. “I said ‘Coach, I’m feeling it right now. I feel sick,’ and he went along with it and had fun with it.”
Remmenga faced 16 hitters — one more than minimum in the game shortened by the mercy rule — struck out two, walked one and hit one. Another reached on an error. But he rolled two double play balls, and kept the Bandits guessing at the plate.
“He kept us off balance,” Three Rivers head coach Mike Whitten said of Remmenga. “When you face a pitcher like that, with his off-speed, you’ve got make adjustments and we just didn’t.”
Twelve of the 16 batters Remmenga faced received first-pitch strikes.
“It just starts with commanding the fastball really. If you can get guys to swing over top of that, you just keep them off-balance by throwing it where they can’t hit it,” Remmenga said. “First-pitch strikes are very important, and you get them to ground out a lot because they aren’t really expecting anything hard again.”
His offense supplied plenty of support. Nearly all of it in one inning.
The Chiefs hammered home eight runs in the third on nine hits. Mike Boeve tripled and scored twice in the frame. JT Cafferty had a single and a double, and Josh Brooks knocked a pair of singles.
Five of the eight runs scored with two outs on the scoreboard as a pivotal call extended the Five Points rally in the frame.
The damage was nearly limited to three runs, which would have made it a 5-0 game going to the fourth, but a blooper off the bat of Jacob Shaw appeared to be caught cleanly by Three Rivers’ Tyson Fourkiller in centerfield, but was ruled by the third base umpire to be trapped.
As the inning continued, Hastings slapped six more hits.
Ashton Valentine sliced a two-RBI single to right, Tyson Bonham collected an RBI on a single, Boeve crushed his second triple for two runs, Cafferty brought in Boeve, and Brooks grounded one through the right side before the inning was over.
“I think we built off (Thursday) where we were down 6-1,” Boeve said. “In that third inning we just got kind of rolling and our hard-hit line drives started falling.”
Asher added: “We smashed the baseball today. We had some good fortune for the ball falling in, and had some good contact. We said good contact is the key this time of the year, and we drove some balls big time that inning, too.”
After a one-run loss on one big hit in the Chiefs’ opener Wednesday, they scratched and clawed their way back from down five runs Thursday. Five Points is finally playing with the confidence that it belongs in the regional.
“We felt all along we were a part of this tournament and here to compete. Right now we look like we’re playing at the top of our game for the entire season,” Asher said.
“But you can’t look ahead. That’s the biggest thing. We’ve got a game tomorrow and we’ve got to play five days. To play five days, you’ve got to be really good, and we’ve been really good the last two days.”
Whitten said he was disappointed in his team’s effort, especially in the long inning.
“We got up this morning and I felt like our guys were lethargic,” the Three Rivers coach said. “(Hastings) wanted it. They wanted to be here and wanted to defend their place. We just didn’t want it. We didn’t do anything well.
“You give them all the credit,” Whitten continued. “They had 11 hits and 10 runs. They hit the ball and put the ball in play, moved runners, bunted. They did everything they should have done.”
Despite multiple Chiefs finishing with extra-base hits, Remmenga was the one who donned the ‘extra-base hit chain’ in the postgame.
“They gave it to me today because with a kind of performance like that, I think I deserved it,” Remmenga said with a laugh.
Five Points Bank will play Saturday at 7 p.m. against Festus.
The Chiefs need three more wins to advance out of the regional.
“This team is good enough to make it to Shelby, N.C.,” Remmenga said. “These guys every game have just proven it more and more.”
TRB...........000 00x x — 0 0 1
FPB...........028 0xx x — 10 11 1
W — CJ Remmenga. L — Carson Foreman.
2B — FP, Brooks, Cafferty.
3B — FP, Boeve 2.