Despite shutout by Smyk, Morris falls

MORRIS – When you throw seven innings of shutout baseball at the high school level, it usually ends in a win.

That wasn’t the case Monday night when Morris senior Tim Smyk blanked Rochelle for seven innings only to take a no-decision as the Redskins lost, 2-1, in eight innings.

The loss dropped Morris to 15-8 (5-4 in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East) while Rochelle improved to 6-14 on the year.

“I don’t know what it is with this team,” Morris coach Todd Kein said after Monday’s game. “I’d go to the wall with these guys, but one day we’re hot and one day we’re not. Inconsistency has been a problem.

“I don’t care what the other team’s record is coming into a series. It’s conference. How many times can you lose in the conference before you get sick of it and you go out and you get after it. Give Rochelle credit. They beat, what I think, can be a good team, but when things like this continue to happen, I can’t label us a good team just yet.”

The game was dominated by a pitching duels between Smyk and Rochelle Tyler Joyce.

The two aces both out the opposing offense for seven innings.
Smyk’s performance wasn’t without drama.

Despite giving up just five hits over seven innings, he walked four batters and had to pitch out of considerable trouble in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings. Brock Kukman would relieve him in the eighth after Smyk threw 110 pitches.

“It’s always a pitch count thing with Tim. He’s a kid who has battled injury, so we always try to keep a closer eye on him, but we’ve got a long week ahead of us, too,” Kein said of the decision to pull Smyk in the eighth. “Tim’s going to have to come back for us at the end of the week.”

After Smyk exited, Rochelle finally broke into the scoring column when Kukman failed to come to a set with runners on second and third, balking in Rochelle’s Doug Johnson. Rochelle would push a second run across on an RBI single by sophomore Christian Burciaga that proved to be the insurance they’d need.

Morris would manage to threaten in the eighth, scoring a run before leaving the bases loaded to end the game.

Matt Bernickus was the only Redskin to manage multiple hits on the game.

“I expect those types of performances out of me, so it’s nice to come through with a couple hits,” Bernickus said. “But it’s really disappointing that [Smyk] came out and threw like that and we couldn’t get him the runs he needed.”