Clay's Jordan Grosjean delivers one of his 89 pitches Wednesday afternoon against St. Francis. The sophomore took a no-hitter into the fifth inning.
Clay's Jesse Castilleja drives in a run against St. Francis as the Eagles improved to 2-0 in the City League.
Clay baseball coach Garry Isbell won't publicly anoint any one pitcher the ace of his staff.
"I've got three kids I'll throw against anybody right now," he said.
One of those three — sophomore Jordan Grosjean — threw a complete game two-hitter Wednesday in a 6-1 win at St. Francis.
Not having to dig into his bullpen means Isbell will have a wide range of options on the mound — minus Grosjean, perhaps — Friday when the Eagles take on St. John's in an important meeting between two of the perceived frontrunners in the City League.
Jesse Castilleja, one of the three pitchers Isbell referred to, drove in three runs while spending the day playing first base, and the Eagles defense was solid except for two errors that led to St. Francis' lone run.
Grosjean admittedly didn't have his best stuff, but he was good enough that he managed to take a no-hitter into the fifth inning before serving up a single to leadoff batter Matt Zmuda. For the game, Grosjean allowed two singles while striking out four and walking three. He primarily worked his fastball — which has been clocked as high as 88 mph — but also threw more curveballs than he's accustomed to.
"I didn't think I had my best stuff, so I went out there and relied on my infield," Grosjean said.
Clay, which has lost three one-run games, improves to 4-3, 2-0 CL. Either Castilleja or lefty Ross Achter will start on the mound Friday against the Titans.
Grosjean threw 89 pitches Wednesday, and according to Isbell, the average for a seven-inning game is 105.
St. Francis scored its run in the sixth inning when Clay committed two errors — one by Grosjean — setting up the Knights' Tad Sobieszczanski for an RBI sacrifice fly.
"I tell our pitchers all the time, there's going to be a lot of times you don't have your best stuff, and you still have to come out and bulldog and be a pitcher," Isbell said.
Coming into the season, the Knights pitching staff had very little experience, just 11 innings combined.
Zach Obert threw the first 3 1/3 innings for St. Francis (4-3, 2-2) and was charged with five runs, all of them earned. Pitching in relief were Max Lyon (2 1/3, one run) and Alex Larnhart (1 1/3, zero runs).
"We're definitely a work in progress," coach Tim Gerken said. "We're trying to find it, and hopefully we will. But you have to tip your hat to [Clay]. That's an experienced club with a good kid in the middle of the diamond."
Clay went ahead 1-0 in the second inning on an RBI single by No. 8 hitter Josh Utter and tacked on two more runs an inning later when Austin Achter ripped a double to left before Castilleja followed with a sacrifice fly to deep left. Castilleja plated two more runs in the fourth with a bases loaded single to left.
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