Vander Tuig’s no-hitter aces Cardinals
Eudora Justin Vander Tuig was going to pitch six innings here Tuesday night, but instead he stayed on the mound all seven.
With the Baldwin High School baseball team leading Eudora 9-1 after six innings, coach Brian Turk intended to relieve his star pitcher and rest his arm. However, Vander Tuig was approaching history.
The BHS senior had pitched six innings of hitless baseball. He needed only three more batters complete the historic mark.
“I didn’t realize it either,” Turk said. “I was going to pull him going into the seventh inning, but I was reminded he had a no-hitter going. We talked about it and let him go back in the seventh inning. We are trying to save his arm a bit, but he wanted it and he deserved it.”
Turk wasn’t the only one who didn’t know Vander Tuig was on pace for a historic moment in BHS history.
“I didn’t know about it until someone said something after the sixth inning,” Vander Tuig said. “It was a little scared after that, but it worked out.”
Vander Tuig headed back to the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning to finish what he started two hours earlier. The first batter popped out to senior Kyle Pattrick at short stop. The second batter hit a deep fly ball that junior Hunter Burkhart caught in left field. Eudora’s final batter hit a ground ball, which Pattrick fielded and threw to junior Tyler Brenn at first base.
Vander Tuig pitched a no-hitter, which was the first in Baldwin High history. He struck out nine batters during the Bulldogs’ 9-1 victory.
Eudora’s only run came after a batter was walked. He took second and third base an a BHS overthrow to first base. Another Cardinal player hit a sacrifice fly to score his teammate.
“There was a bit of pressure,” Vander Tuig said of the seventh inning. “Hunter made a great catch out in left field. The guys were playing good defense all night behind me. Honestly, it feels really good. I’ve never thrown a no-hitter before.
“Nate (Growcock) was spotting me up good,” he said. “I was just throwing it in there. It always helps having a good defense behind me and they’re always good. Everybody was gloving it tonight, which was nice.”
With Vander Tuig dominating on the mound, the Bulldogs’ offense piled on runs late in the game. They scored six runs during the fifth and sixth innings to give their ace insurance, which wasn’t needed after it was all said and done.
In the sixth inning, Baldwin’s first four batters were walked. All four scored for BHS. They were senior Connor Sublett, Vander Tuig, senior Kyle Pattrick and sophomore Tyler Cawley.
Pattrick and Cawley also scored in the fifth inning. Pattrick hit a single and Cawley was hit by a pitch.
Vander Tuig and Cawley helped BHS take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. They both scored after being walked and reaching on an error. Burkhart added Baldwin’s other run in the second inning. Vander Tuig hit a sacrifice fly to score Burkhart.
“We had a great effort from Justin in game one,” Turk said. “We fielded it well. It was another great all-around performance. The guys played hard and played well behind him. We did a nice job competing.”
In the second game, Baldwin fell behind 3-0 in the first inning. BHS rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the top of the third inning, but the Cardinals added three runs in the third to take a 6-4 lead.
The Cardinals scored one more run in the fourth and two in the fifth. Baldwin did manage one run in the fourth inning, but was unable to score during the final three innings. BHS lost 9-5.
“We’ve been struggling to sweep a team all year,” Vander Tuig said. “We still haven’t got it done. We were hoping for it tonight, but we came up a bit short in the end.
“I think we’re just not quite as focused the second game,” he said. “I think our plate appearances aren’t quite as good in the second game. Hopefully, we can refocus at the plate. We just need to do all of the little things right and keep our heads in the game. Those are the big things for us.”
Turk agreed with Vander Tuig.
“It seems like whoever we plug into game two, all nine of us aren’t plugged in,” Turk said. “We didn’t beat ourselves bad in the field in game two. We had a couple errors that led to a couple of runs. It was our approaches at the plate that cost us in game two. We swung at a lot of bad pitches. After changing pitchers, we didn’t adjust as well as they did and it cost us in the end.”
Baldwin will host make-up games against Paola on Friday and play Perry-Lecompton at home Monday. Both doubleheaders begin at 4:30 p.m. Monday will be senior night for the Bulldogs.
“We’ll keep battling,” Turk said. “We still have four games left to try and put one of those sweeps together before we head to regionals.”