GENOA – With the number of games dwindling before the postseason starts, Sycamore coach Jill Carpenter said Wednesday’s game against Genoa-Kingston was a good chance to get multiple pitchers work.
So when Milani Sablan was carrying a perfect game into the seventh, she said she didn’t hesitate to take Sablan out.
Hannah Mizgalski finished off the perfect game, getting the Cogs in order in the seventh for a 5-0 Spartans win.
“The whole point of today was to get two pitchers some time,” Carpenter said. “You’re running out of opportunities toward the end of the year here in regards to seeing what kids can do and getting them mound time. I thought Milani threw the ball well for
six innings, and we knew Hannah could shut the door, and she did just that.” [David Toney for Shaw Media]
In her start last week against Morris, Sablan struck out 19.
This time out, the junior for Sycamore (23-6-1) struck out 12 G-K batters. Only one ball left the infield – a pop-up to center by Leyah Langley.
Sablan has been the Spartans’ No. 2 starter this year behind Faith Reynolds, who started at designated player.
“Just in general having faith,” Sablan said about what was working for her, before pausing for a beat and letting out a chuckle. “Just having faith in myself but also the other faith. Just having faith in my team, basically, because I know if I give up a hit or whatnot, they’ll be behind me to make things work.”
Sablan, who pitched in Jacksonville, Florida, before moving up north, had perfect games in her career before, she said. So she said she didn’t really mind leaving the game after six innings.
“I wasn’t upset about it. I wasn’t stressed about it or whatnot,” Sablan said. “I was more or less just happy for the fact she had faith in Hannah to finish it out, ’cause she doesn’t really get a lot of time in the circle. I was just happy for Hannah that she got her chance.”
Carpenter said that performance last week against Morris might have been an even better performance.
“My hope is that Milani would have a team-first attitude about that statistic,” Carpenter said. “She struck out
19 kids in one game last week, and I would argue that was a much more dominating performance than this one. She knows what she can do, she’s confident in what she can do and she’s confident in her team and wants us to win. So I think the team aspect trumped the individual one today.”
Sycamore scored twice in the second to take the lead against the Cogs (20-14). Emmalee Torson singled home a run, and a second run scored on an error. G-K committed four errors in the game, leading to four unearned runs.
“When a pitcher is pitching well, and you’re not hitting and you give up four unearned, it’s going to come back to kill you every time,” Cogs coach Andrew Freund said. “But it’s OK. We’ll learn from it and get prepared for regionals.”
By the numbers: Ashley Clemente went the distance for the Cogs, allowing one earned run and nine hits. Mindy Smits had the two hits, the only multihit day for the Spartans.
Beyond the stats: The closest the Cogs came to a hit was in the fourth inning, when Clemente ripped a shot down the left-field line, but it was called foul. She became the ninth strikeout victim later in the at-bat.
They said it: “She’s a good pitcher,” Freund said of Sablan. “We took some decent cuts. She’s probably one of the best pitchers we’ve seen. I don’t think that’s our best hitting. I think we can hit. But hats off to her, she pitched a great game.”
Up next: The Cogs are off until their Class 3A Stillman Valley Regional semifinal Wednesday against Freeport. Sycamore faces Dundee-Crown on Wednesday, Rock Falls on Friday and Sandwich in a doubleheader Saturday.