Despite morning storms and a forecast for more rain in the afternoon, Naperville North pitcher Colin Ash was determined to take the mound on Friday against Downers Grove South.
“I went to bed thinking I was going to play. We were going to play no matter what. If I had to go out there with a fine-toothed comb and do the grass myself, we were going to play,” said Ash.
Luckily for Ash, the skies cleared and the right-handed junior turned in the best pitching performance of his life. Ash tossed a no-hitter and picked up his first career varsity win as the Huskies defeated the visiting Mustangs 10-0 in five innings.
“I was just trying to let it all go and have fun. I might never experience this again, so I just wanted to live in the moment,” said Ash, who struck out three batters while allowing three walks.
Naperville North (3-4) coach Carl Hunckler said that the 5’9” Ash stood out to the coaching staff during the preseason.
“We watched him throughout the preseason and were very impressed with his speed and his mental approach to the game,” said Hunckler. “He’s got a hard breaking ball so we think he’s going to be a great player for us.”
Ash pitched most of the game with a big lead after the Huskies put nine runs on the board in the first inning. North sent 14 batters to the plate and collected eight hits in the opening frame.
Ash contributed on offense with a RBI single in the first inning. Conner Adamski, Pat Mollo and Alex Moss also had RBI singles in the inning.
Mike Laurenzo drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and Nick Solak drove in two runs with a triple to deep right-center field.
Solak led the Huskies on offense, going 3-for-3 with two triples, two RBI and three runs scored. Eight of the Huskies’ nine batters recorded a hit.
“We came out swinging, that’s for sure,” said Solak, who had two hits in the first inning. “Our offense has been a little slow up to this point, but the first inning we really came out there swinging and hopefully we can take that into next game and the rest of the season.”
The Huskies snapped a three-game losing streak with the win. North had struggled offensively during the streak so the Huskies’ first inning outburst was a welcome sight for Hunckler.
“We haven’t played anywhere near our expectations this season, we’ve had a bit of feast or famine on offense” said Hunckler. “That was really nice for us to get things going offensively. I was especially pleased with how hard we hit the ball today and our approach at the plate.”
I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Naperville Sun and yourseason.com. It appears here.