David Adam

Beyond the Boxscore: Wallingford's relief, Wellman's first earned run, Whittaker's bad hop

Jase Wallingford
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 23, 2018 12:01 am Updated: May. 24, 2018 12:48 am

PLEASANT PLAINS, Ill. -- Quincy Notre Dame baseball coach Ryan Oden likes the idea of bringing Jase Wallingford out of the bullpen in the postseason.

With Nick Wellman and Tommy Ray poised to handle the starting pitching duties for the rest of the postseason, Oden wants to use the 6-foot-8 righty in relief.

Wallingford's last four appearances in the regular season were as a starter, but Oden had envisioned him in a relief role ever since April 14, when he pitched the final inning in a 6-2 victory over Pleasant Plains.

"I told Jase, 'You're going to be a part of what we're going to do here,'" Oden said. "If we can get him going, that's big for him. Today was a good opportunity, and I knew he would be fine. That's big for us."

Wallingford has never had problems bringing the heat, striking out 28 batters in 23 innings entering Wednesday's game. However, he also had walked 33 batters and hit eight others.

Wallingford walked two batters in the sixth but got Caleb Hermann to ground out to third to end the threat. He walked two more in the seventh, and only a bad-hop double by Brendan Taylor led to a run scoring. He struck out two, and most of the Cardinals batters struggled to catch up to his fastball.

"I'm fine with (coming out of the bullpen)," Wallingford said. "I like it. My arm felt great. When I throw strikes, they'll get themselves out."

The Cardinals struck out 11 times against Wallingford and starter Nick Wellman. Warrensburg-Latham coach Chris Elston has a warning for future Raiders opponents.

"Get geared up for the fastball, and do what you can with it," he said. "Even knowing that, we still had some trouble with it. We see some good pitching in our conference (the Central Illinois Conference), but we don't see anybody who throws that hard.

"You get to your 28th game of the season, and that's something you haven't seen a lot of, it's hard to adjust. But we battled. We didn't fold up the tents."

Nick Wellman

Wellman gives up first earned run

Wellman entered Wednesday's game having allowed six runs in 36 innings this season, but all of the runs were unearned. He allowed his first earned run in the second inning when Garhett Allen singled to right field with two outs to drive in Andrew Lung.

Wellman pitched two more shutout innings before two walks and a wild pitch on strike three allowed the Cardinals to load the bases in the fifth. Reis Kendrick then doubled to right-center to drive in all three runs.

Wellman was hoping to become just the fourth pitcher in Illinois High School Association history to pitch at least 30 innings in a season without giving up an earned run. He would have joined Centralia's George Dugan from 1961, Cullom Tri-Point's Marlin Donley from 1973 and Wheaton Warrenville South's Dan Bruauer from 2001.

Wellman's earned run averaged "ballooned" all the way to 0.88 after Wednesday's game. He has an 8-0 record.

QND coach Ryan Oden considered removing Wellman from the game after the Raiders grabbed a 10- lead after three innings, allowing him to be available for Saturday's sectional title game. Instead, he let Wellman complete five innings.

"You've got to get the next day," Oden said. "We have enough arms to carry us without saving him. It works out, because if we win Saturday, he's ready for Monday (in the super-sectional)."



Ben Whittaker

Tough hops

The all-grass infield at Reiser Field gave the Quincy Notre Dame baseball team, which plays on a turf infield at Ferd Niemann Jr. Memorial Ballfield, a couple of hops they haven't seen this season.

A bad hop handcuffed third baseman Malachi Lentz in the third inning. First baseman Tommy Ray took a bad hop on a sharply hit grounder by Kendrick two batters later, and he knocked it down with his chest to end the inning.

The worst hop, however, came on the next-to-last batter. Brendan Taylor hit what appeared to be a game-ending grounder to second base, but a vicious hop hit Ben Whittaker just above his left eye. The ball rolled into the outfield for a double, and a run scored.

Whittaker had a little welt in his left eyebrow afterward.

"I'm good," he said. "My sunglasses saved me.

"We're just going to have to deal with it Saturday. We've played on fields like this all season, so we have to get ready for it."

Soft-tossers frustrate Raiders

Quincy Notre Dame had little trouble figuring out Kendrick or reliever Braden Martin, knocking them around for 10 hits and drawing six walks in 2 2/3 innings.

However, Garhett Allen and Andrew Lung gave the Raiders fits for the final 3 1/3 innings. QND had just one hit, hitting four fly balls and striking out three times. Both of them had success with much slower pitches, plus a few wrinkles.

"Based on what I was able to find out, we knew it might give them a little trouble," Elston said. "We had two soft-tossers out there, and (the Raiders) were out on their front foot and they hit a lot of fly balls. It was a planned thing, and to a certain degree, we executed it a little bit."

"We were just over eager," Oden said.

Last meeting

Quincy Notre Dame got six innings from left-hander Dylan Foley and defeated Pleasant Plains 6-2 on April 14 at the Beardstown Tournament. Wallingford came in relief and retired the Cardinals in the seventh on seven pitches.

The Raiders took a 2-0 lead in the first behind RBI singles from Nick Wellman and Peyton Stegeman. They added two more runs in the second after an RBI double from Dylan Venvertloh and a sacrifice fly from Nick Schwartz. David Hutson hit a two-run home run to left in the fifth.

The loss was the first of the season for Pleasant Plains.

The same teams met for the sectional title last season in Beardstown. Five QND pitchers yielded 18 walks and hit two batters, but the Raiders held on for a 13-12 victory. Freshman left-hander Griffin Kirn got the last four outs to earn the save. He got Giuseppe Mattera to fly out to left field with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh inning.