TUSCOLA — Adam Crites will remember Friday’s win against the Sullivan Redskins for a long time.

Crites pitched a no-hitter in the Rantoul Eagles baseball team’s 5-0 win against the Redskins at Tuscola Park. Crites pitched all seven innings and finished with eight strikeouts.

Crites and the Eagles defense had a slow start pitching in the game. In the first inning, two Redskin players got on base via a walk and then an infield error.

Crites met with assistant coach Alan Jones Jr. on the mound to talk about his performance. After further discussion, Crites returned to the mound and started “pitching.”

“Crites admitted that he was throwing as opposed to pitching,” Jones said. 

“After he made the appropriate adjustments he pitched six straight one-two-three innings to close out the no-hit shutout.”

Rantoul coach Jon Donovan said Crites has shown immense improvement during the offseason and has the ability to change the way he pitches with each batter he faces.

“Adam has become a complete pitcher entering his senior year,” Donovan said. His velocity has improved due to his commitment to offseason weightlifting. One of his major attributes is the fact that he is not predictable, meaning he can throw any pitch in his arsenal for a strike in any count, which keeps hitters off balance.”

Donovan gave credit to Jones and Crites’ father, James, the pitching coach for the team.

“His father has helped mold him to the be the pitcher he is today,” Donovan said. 

“Allen has a tremendous baseball mind and studies hitters’ tendencies throughout the game and gives our pitchers greater chances for success as long as they execute the pitches.”

The no-hitter is the fourth under the tenure of Donovan. 

On the offensive side for the Eagles, Hayden Cargo had a single that drove in two runs in the top of the third. Casey Dillman also provided his bat, hitting a double that scored a run in the bottom of the sixth.

 Eagles dominate Danville 15-5 in six innings

The Eagles team was looking for redemption on Wednesday against the Danville Vikings at their home field after going 1-3 in the Alabama Gulf Shores Tournament.

The Eagles scored 15 runs on 10 hits in its 15-5 win over the Vikings. 

“It was good to see the bats finally come back alive a little bit today,” said Thomas Wolken, assistant coach.

The Eagles scored four runs in the first inning to jump to a 4-0 lead.

Cargo was the starting pitcher, he had a one-two-three out inning in the first, including two strikeouts.

In the second inning, though, the Vikings offense responded. 

Iggy First hit a two-run double to cut the lead in half, 4-2. First eventually scored on a passed ball that got through the catcher to make it 4-3.

“Hayden Cargo started off good, but he started to struggle a little bit in the second inning,” Wolken said. “But that’s baseball. You can’t really do much about it.”

In the bottom of the second, with runners on first and third, Crites grounded in a fielder’s choice. The play allowed a runner to score to make the score 5-3.

The Vikings cut the lead back to one in the third with First getting an RBI single. In the same inning with a runner on third, Strader hit a ground ball to second baseman Jaxson Freeman, who was unable to field the ball, resulting in a run scored for Danville. The game was tied 5-5.

In the bottom of the third, Roseman, again, came through for the Eagles with his bat. 

He doubled, scoring a runer on first to put Rantoul back in the lead 6-5.

Roseman wasn’t finished with his bat. In the bottom of the fifth, he tripled to put the Eagles up 7-5. Roseman  would score due to Danville’s first baseman, Jaruseski, unable to field a ground ball hit by Freeman. The Eagles would add an additional run to make the score, 9-5.

Roseman’s contribution wasn’t limited to offense In the bottom of the sixth, the Vikings had runners on first and second when Roseman came in to replace Eagles pitcher, Hunter Hoffman. Hoffman pitched for two innings, allowing four hits and no runs.

Roseman induced a groundout to the first batter he faced. The runners  for Vikings did advance to second and third after a wild pitch, but were left stranded after Roseman struck out the next two batters, getting Rantoul out of the inning without allowing any runs scored.

“I’m always looking out for a challenge,” Roseman said. “My team backed me up with some good plays, and we were able to get through that. It was a great situation.”

In the bottom of the sixth inning,  the Eagles had the bases loaded with one out, leading the Vikings 14-5. Jake Lykins grounded into a fielder’s choice, but would score run number 15 for the Eagles. The game ended there because of the 10-run rule.

The Eagles coaching staff likes what they see from their players, specifically how they were able to come back after their performance in the Alabama Gulf Shores tournament.

“They needed to get a little bit more mad and have more passion in the game,” Wolken said. “Today we saw it come out a little bit. I think we are starting to put it together.” 

Roseman said that there is still room for improvement, especially on defense.

“We need to get our errors down a little bit more, but I think we did a pretty good job today,” Roseman said. “My team is doing a great job of getting familiar with positions.”

Contact Ben Theobald at btheobald@rantoulpress.com