Baseball: No-hitter by Morris keeps Hinsdale South on hot streakHinsdale South's Emmanuel Morris (00) scores on a double by Mitch Duckhorn against Burlington Central in a doubleheader on March 29, 2012, in Darien. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Hinsdale South catcher Emmanuel Morris would seem to be an unlikely candidate to pitch a no-hitter.
The Villanova-bound senior is pitching for the first time in his four-year varsity career. He has only three pitches, relying heavily on his fastball, and he only began pitching this season, when new South coach Paul Hoel suggested Morris give it a try. The Hornets had only one experienced starter, right-hander P.J. Schuster, return from last season.
“I pitched when I was younger, before high school,” Morris said.
Morris did not allow a hit in a 10-0, five-inning win over Morton in Darien on Friday. He struck out nine, but hit one batter and gave up two walks.
“I didn’t even know (about the no-hitter) when I came out,” Morris said. “I came in the next day, and Coach told me how I did. He said, ‘Did you know you had a no-hitter?’ I said, ‘What?’ A no-hitter is not common. I just go out, pitch for the guys and give the team a chance to win.”
The win kept the Hornets (17-4-1, 8-2 West Suburban Gold) unbeaten in their last 10 games. South’s last loss came by a 4-0 score in the second game of a doubleheader against Downers Grove South on April 7. The streak includes an 8-8 tie against Oak Park-River Forest on April 19, when the game was suspended; it will not be made up.
Morris hasn’t had to become an ace pitcher for the Hornets. Schuster (4-0) and junior Mike Marrera (3-0) have become a solid 1-2 punch on the mound for Hinsdale South.
Morris left immediately after the game to travel to Normal for a band concert at Illinois State that evening. Morris was the school’s homecoming king last fall, and plays the saxophone at the school, including as a part of the marching band during the football season.
One of Hinsdale South’s top players, senior Mitch Duckhorn, has begun playing first base regularly after injuring his right shoulder. The injury has not hampered his hitting, but Duckhorn has struggled to throw. Schuster, the usual first baseman — when he’s not pitching — is starting at third base.
Duckhorn normally plays first base when Schuster is pitching.
“My arm is getting back to normal,” Duckhorn said. “It’s progressing since I hurt my shoulder. When we were at Benedictine University (and beat Hinsdale Central), it did not hurt.”
Hinsdale South will plays in a doubleheader at Addison Trail on Saturday, host the Blazers on May 8, and then visit defending state champion Lyons Township on May 10.