Baseball: Carl Formento shines as St Charles North tops LarkinSt. Charles North's Carl Formento delivers a pitch Wednesday against Larkin. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 18, 2012 11:04PM
St. Charles North’s Carl Formento was as close to perfect as a pitcher can be without getting credit for a no-hitter or perfect game Wednesday.
Larkin managed only two baserunners against Formento, with the first coming on a pop up that fell on the edge of the infield grass for a fluke hit and the second coming on an error. Those were the only blemishes for the senior right-hander in what was otherwise a flawless performance as the North Stars topped the host Royals 2-0 in Upstate Eight River play.
“I thought I had pretty good command with the offspeed, and then when I threw a fastball I thought my fastball was working pretty well,” Formento said. “I was just trying to pace myself throughout the whole game and trying to do whatever to get my team the win.”
After the game there was some disagreement as to whether Formento should be credited with a no-hitter.
The controversy centered around a towering pop up hit by Larkin’s Niko Morado with one out in the bottom of the first. St. Charles North second baseman Jake Johansmeier said he initially lost the ball in the clouds, and by the time he located its trajectory it was too late as it fell several feet behind him.
Morado took a big turn around first and was thrown out on the play trying to sneak into second base, and little did anyone know at the time the odd sequence would loom so large. St. Charles North’s coaches contended Johansmeier should have been given an error on a play he should have made, but the home team has the final word and Larkin credited Morado with a hit since Johansmeier never came close to touching the ball.
Either way, the ruling took nothing away from a dominant complete-game effort that saw Formento (2-1) strike out eight and walk none.
He retired the final 14 batters he faced after Larkin’s Jack Eckholm reached on an error with one out in the third.
“(Formento) has lightning stuff,” St. Charles North coach Todd Genke said. “He’s got a good fastball that moves, he’s got a very good slider and he mixes in a curveball and a changeup. He’s a bulldog and he’s a competitor.
“It’s always tricky (with the official scoring). It’s a ball (Johansmeier) should probably get to and make the play on, but it’s a tough call. It’s funny how that happens with one play and the game keeps moving along and gets to this.”
Johansmeier made up for misplaying the first-inning pop up by driving in both runs for St. Charles North (8-7, 5-3).
There was no score in the top of the third when John Brodner connected for a two-out single, moved to second on a wild pitch and came around to cross the plate on Johansmeier’s single to left. Johansmeier provided an insurance run in the sixth when he drove in Jake Smiley by grounding into a fielder’s choice.
Formento’s gem made a tough-luck loser of Larkin’s Austin Royse (1-4), who went all seven innings on the mound and allowed two earned runs on seven hits while striking out four.
The defeat was the third in a row for the Royals (6-10, 3-5), who have managed only three runs during the skid.
“(Formento) threw well and he kept us off balance, but we’ve got to swing it like we’re capable of,” Larkin coach Matt Esterino said.
“We’re kind of in a little bit of an offensive rut. We’re pitching it very well and playing pretty good defense, so two of the three aspects are there. We’ve just got to start hitting like we’re capable of.”
Brodner and Brandon Drawant were both 2-for-4 for the North Stars, who have won three in a row and will go for the three-game sweep of Larkin when the teams wrap up the series Thursday in St. Charles.