Regez notches 700th win as Herscher holds on late
BRAIDWOOD — The beauty of baseball never fails to amaze.
One minute you’re on cloud nine, and the next minute, that cloud turns gray and your entire mood changes.
Herscher (20-5) found itself on both sides of the spectrum Tuesday night but found a way to weather a thunderous Reed-Custer rally and hold on to a nail-biting 6-5 victory against the Comets (8-9).
The win was Herscher coach Eric Regez’s 700th career win. It’s also the 24th straight season the Tigers have won at least 20 games.
“Accomplishing both of those feats in the same game is another reason this game was so special,” Regez said. “Seven hundred is very special, which speaks more to how many great players that we’ve been fortunate to have come through the program and those who are currently here.”
Twenty-four hours after seeing the blistering speed of Tyler Stuart’s fastball, the Tigers handed the ball to Logan Fritz, and he went to work.
While Fritz’s fastball might not have the heat Stuart’s does, it was more than capable of keeping the Comets’ lineup guessing.
Mixing his fastball and curveball, Fritz breezed through the opening two innings and began to feel something click.
“Normally, I struggle through the first inning,” Fritz said. “Once the second inning hit, I started to feel a rhythm, and everything took off from there. The defense played really great behind me, and (Herscher catcher) Kaden (Hubly) called a perfect game for me.”
Then, two perfect innings became three. Then, four. And five innings later, a perfect game was starting to brew.
And then, the cardinal sin was committed.
“After the bottom of the fifth inning, we started talking about a perfect game,” Fritz said with a smile. “We talked about us blowing it, and sure enough, it happened. My arm was done at that point, and I was gassed. But it feels good to be the guy to pitch and get the win for Coach’s 700th in his long career.”
2 Swings Later
Herscher led 6-0 entering the top of the sixth after a two-run single by Ryan Volk, a three-run homer from Ben Koranda and an RBI single from McKinley Keenan.
Fritz and company talked about the perfect game, so the baseball gods knew what was coming. Jack Stellano led off the sixth inning and sent a pitch over the right-field fence to break up perfection and cut the lead to 6-1.
After an error and a walk, Fritz’s day on the mound ended. After another walk was issued, Caleb LaGrange saw a pitch in his wheelhouse and connected for a grand slam that bounced off the top of the right field fence and into the trees for a 6-5 game.
“I wasn’t going to take the first pitch,” LaGrange said. “I saw a fastball coming right at me, and I just wanted to make contact. I hit it, saw the fielder continue backing up to the fence and thought to myself, ‘Is this really happening right now?’ It made it over, barely, but still made it. Overall, this was a tough loss, but we’ll rebound.”
Volk finished the game 2-for-3 with two singles and two RBIs for Herscher.
Koranda went 1-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs, and McKinley Keenan was 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI.
Trevor McLaughlin suffered the loss for Reed-Custer in five innings on the mound, allowing eight hits and two earned runs.
LaGrange and Stellano collected the only two hits.
Herscher hosts Bishop McNamara today.
Reed-Custer travels to Seneca on Friday.