Baseball: St Charles North’s Jake Johansmeier stops Larkin
St. Charles North struck for three runs in the bottom of the first inning, and that was more than enough support for ace Jake Johansmeier, as the North Stars topped Larkin 5-1 in the Upstate Eight River.
After the first batter of the game for the Royals reached on an error, Johansmeier struck out the next seven batters he faced. The Eastern Illinois recruit whiffed 13 batters total en route to a complete-game victory.
“I know I can throw what I want with my defense behind me, if they miss it great but if they make contact the guys will make the plays,” said Johansmeier. “Getting ahead of guys is really important, especially with the new bats, because if I’m ahead I can go to my off-speed stuff and the ball just doesn’t go anywhere off the bat.”
Added North coach Todd Genke: “Jake was awesome today, getting ahead of guys, keeping the ball down and as good as he’s been for us in his three years on varsity this was one of the best games I’ve seen him pitch.”
North got to Royals starter sophomore Brayden Royse early, as Brandon Drawant (2-for-2, walk) led off the game with a single, Erik Nelson walked, and Jake Smiley plated the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly.
Johansmeier followed that with an RBI groundout, before John Brodner (2-for-3, two RBI) launched a home run to center field, capping a three-run first.
Royse settled down from there, scattering two hits and no runs over the next four inning, before North (7-7, 4-3) pushed across two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
“Brayden is a gamer, and he threw the ball well after that first inning,” said Royals coach Matt Esterino. “His best quality is his competitiveness on the mound, and he challenges guys with everything he has.”
Offensively, the Royals (6-9, 3-4) only managed to tally five hits for the game. Catcher Dylan Ganow (2-for-3, run) doubled and scored the Royals’ only run in the fifth inning, advancing from third on an errant pick-off throw to first base.
Smiley and Johansmeier then led off the sixth inning for North with back-to-back singles, and both eventually came around to score, as Brodner plated Smiley with a sacrifice fly and Johansmeier eventually scored on a wild pitch, capping the scoring and giving North some insurance runs heading into the final inning.