CARPENTERSVILLE – A couple of early runs were all Woodstock pitcher Alex Ferguson needed Saturday morning.
The Blue Streaks managed to score a run in each of the first two innings before being blanked the rest of the way but it was just enough as Ferguson kept the Dundee-Crown hitters off balance in a 2-1 Fox Valley Conference crossover victory Saturday.
“Great outing by Ferguson,” Woodstock coach John Oliveira said. “He pitched a really, really good game.”
Ferguson struck out eight while allowing one hit through six innings. He was effective in working the corners and keeping the ball down in the zone, which made for a lot of ground ball outs.
With a game-time temperature hovering around 40 degrees, the pitchers tried to stay as warm as possible, but finding a consistent grip on the ball proved to be a challenge. Although Ferguson allowed only one hit, he hit three batters and walked another, but he avoided the big inning with strikeouts.
“It was a little cold out there when the wind would pick up, which made it tough,” Ferguson said of his control, “but I always would find a way to get it back together.”
The two early runs were all the Blue Streaks (2-3 overall, 1-3 FVC Fox Division) could muster against Chargers starting pitcher Tyler Lewan, who dazzled in tough situations.
Woodstock had the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings but couldn’t push across a run as Lewan jammed the hitters and forced routine groundouts. But because Ferguson was pitching the way he was, the missed opportunities didn’t haunt the Blue Streaks.
“It’s one of the things that could have flipped the momentum,” Oliveira said. “We left six runners on base in two straight innings and [Ferguson] comes in and pop, pop, pop shuts them right down.”
The Chargers (5-4, 3-1 FVC Valley) were able to convert a walk into a run in the sixth, but that was all they got.
“We just didn’t have any timely hitting,” D-C coach Jon Anderson said.
Oliveira replaced Ferguson in the seventh in favor of 6-foot-3 left-handed closer Jacob Ellegood with a 2-1 lead.
Ellegood induced a soft pop-up to the second baseman and struck out the next batter, but with two outs the Chargers made it interesting. Zach Girard got his team’s second hit of the day, but Ellegood struck out Garrett Ryan to end the game.
“My ball has a good tail to it at the end,” Ellegood said. “I have faith in my team, and it feeds my mentaility to just go after the hitters. Closing it out is the best feeling in the world. It’s so great.”