Baseball: Minooka’s Kevin Ruff hurls perfect game at O’Fallon
Updated: June 2, 2012 7:22PM
Quiet and calm, Minooka starter Kevin Ruff jogged off the field shooting a wry smile at coach Jeff Petrovic after each half inning.
The situation called for tension and unease, but the No. 2 starter sandwiched between ace Josh Jimenez and sophomore sensation Mitch Vogrin could only come up with one way to describe his role on the team.
Seemingly unaffected by the pressure, Ruff fired a perfect game, retiring all 21 batters he faced as he led the Indians to a 9-0 win over O’Fallon in the Class 4A Illinois Wesleyan Sectional final.
Minooka will lean on Jimenez on Monday in a 4:30 p.m. supersectional meeting against Naperville Central at the University of Illinois.
“I’m in awe of how well we played,” Petrovic said. “We had a perfect game, 17 hits and incredible defense. So rarely do all the pieces fit together, and Kevin pitched one of the greatest high school baseball games I’ve ever seen.”
Ruff, who had just four strikeouts, relied heavily on his defense, getting it involved early and often. O’Fallon managed just five balls hit out of the infield.
The perfect game appeared in jeopardy in the sixth when the Panthers’ first hitter of the inning, Brenndon Tindall, lined a shot to right field. Carson Neushwander left his feet for a diving catch to keep the perfect game intact.
The seventh was no cakewalk, either. A soft grounder managed its way past Ruff, but hard-charging third baseman Joe Carnagio got the out on a bang-bang play.
Ruff then struck out his final batter before jumping into the arms of catcher TJ Condon.
“I was just trying to get ahead of everybody and let my defense make the plays,” Ruff said. “In the fourth or fifth inning I realized what was going on and just really didn’t want to hit anyone. This is easily my best accomplishment. Everyone gets an opportunity on this team, and I just try to make the most out of mine.”
The Indians scored in every inning with seven players each driving in a run.