Baseball: Trayvon Johnson shuts out Clemente, St Joseph advances to sectional final
Updated: June 1, 2012 7:14PM
Trayvon Johnson got to squeeze the final out Friday, and nothing could have been more appropriate.
The St. Joseph junior was masterful on the mound, hurling a one-hit shutout to beat Clemente 2-0 in a Class 3A Glenbard South Sectional semifinal in Glen Ellyn. The victory lifted the Chargers (26-14) into the sectional title game for the first time in school history.
Johnson (7-3) was efficient throughout the snappy 80-minute ballgame, throwing 86 pitches, of which only 26 were called balls. His last pitch resulted in a line drive back to the mound off the bat of Jacob Diaz, and after Johnson caught it, he lifted his arms in the air and was embraced by his teammates.
“It means a lot, to be honest,” Johnson said. “I told the seniors today, [score] a few runs and this will not be your last game. I told them, ‘I’ll do it for you guys.’ I still have one more year.”
Johnson, who walked three and hit a batter, struck out Clemente’s first hitter, Juan Figueroa, on three pitches and that set the tone for the game. He consistently got ahead in the count and then got the Wildcats (22-10) to chase high fastballs.
“When its two strikes we always go up, up, up and they just kept chasing it,” Johnson said. “So we just kept going there the whole game. That’s the key to me; if I throw strikes and get ahead, we’ll be alright.”
Only two Clemente runners reached second base and both were stranded there. David Feliciano led off the top of the second with a walk and stole second, only to watch Johnson strike out the side.
In the sixth, Johnson issued a two-out walk to Jerimiah Figueroa and hit Yerbis Arias to put the tying runs on, but Feliciano grounded into a force play on the next pitch.
“He came up big for us,” St. Joseph coach Jay Meath said of Johnson. “He was changing eyesight and that’s always a key, but I think the biggest thing is he kept throwing strikes. We [tell him] all the time, ‘Tray, stay within yourself, don’t overthrow, throw strikes.’ That’s what he did today.”
Johnson, who has compiled an earned-run average of under 2.00 despite facing such Catholic League powers as St. Laurence, Providence and Brother Rice, said he has thrown a couple of one-hitters before, but none as memorable as this one.
“I can say this is one of the best [games] I’ve pitched, just because of the timing, [in] the sectional semis,” Johnson said.
Clemente starter Jonathon Figueroa was also solid, walking none and fanning four while giving up eight hits, only two of which went for extra bases.
St. Jospeh’s Ryan Moritz doubled to lead off the third and scored on a one-out single by Eric LeCoure (2-for-3), and in the third Danny Barron singled, went to third on a double by Brian Powers and scored on a squeeze bunt by Sean Holas.
The second-seeded Chargers will take an eight-game winning streak into Saturday’s sectional final against top-seeded Nazareth (28-9), which edged St. Joseph 2-0 and 1-0 during the regular season.