The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

April 25, 2014

Bolander no-hits FSHS in 1-0 win: PHOTOS

FAIRMONT — Jacob Bolander is known affectionately by his East Fairmont teammates as “BoBo.” After his performance Thursday, the Bee baseball team might have to change that nickname to “No-No.”

The right-handed ace tossed a no-hitter against No. 3 Fairmont Senior in a 1-0 win over the cross-town rival at Mary Lou Retton Park.

The tension grew every time he painted the corner with his fastball or buckled the knees of a Fairmont Senior hitter with his sharp breaking ball.

As the game wore on, the sophomore continued to put up zeros. Still, in the East (12-5) dugout, there was no talk about a— I think we can say it now— no-hitter.

But Bolander knew.

“I knew it the whole time,” he said. “I just didn’t want anyone to say it. I didn’t want to jinx it.”

Well aware of the situation, the East Fairmont crowd hung on every pitch in the dramatic seventh inning. After striking out Ryder Skarzinski and getting Bailey Mohr to pop up to center field, the sophomore needed just one more out.

He uncorked a pitch to Shea Fitch when — all of the sudden — he reached down for his right calf.

“I got a shooting pain up my leg,” said Bolander, explaining the cramps. “I didn’t want to come off. I had to push through the pain.”

“It would have taken quite a bit to take him out of there at that point in time,” said East Fairmont baseball coach Joe Price. “He is a competitor. He wasn't going to come out.”

Backed by “Bo-Bo!” chants from the East Fairmont faithful, Bolander struck out Fitch with a high and outside 3-2 fastball.

“After the last out I almost cried,” said Bolander, who stuck out five and walked four. “I'm tearing up right now.”

His family was equally emotional. Wiping tears from her eyes, his mother said she couldn’t be more proud, while his dad flashed a smile nearby.

His brother, James, had a front-row seat at shortstop. He pitched in by charging a weak ground ball from Ryan Ricer and throwing him out to end the fifth inning, just one of many solid defensive plays that the Bees made behind their pitcher.

“I didn’t think I’d ever have my little brother doing this,” the senior said, shedding a couple of tears himself. “I’m glad I could contribute to it.”

Fairmont Senior (12-5) starting pitcher Austin Norman was nearly as dominant, striking out 10, walking four and allowing just three hits.

His only trouble came in the top of the first inning. The southpaw issued a walk to E.J. Trickett. After a Truman Weese single, Tanner Lambert drove in Trickett from third on a ground-ball error by Fairmont Senior second baseman Ricer.

The Polar Bears’ best chance to put some runs on the board came in the bottom of the fourth. Bolander hit Norman with a pitch then walked Johnny Kesling. He continued to struggle with his control when he tossed a Skarzinski comebacker too high for the second baseman, loading the bases.

The next batter, Bailey Mohr, hit a flare down the right field line. Thinking it was down, Norman’s pinch runner Austin Kuhn failed to tag up.

While the baserunning blunder cost the Polar Bears a chance to tie the game, coach Steve Naternicola offered another explanation for the loss.

“If you don't get any hits, you don't deserve to win,” he said. “That's all I can say.

“East was probably the underdog today, but I think they wanted it more today.”

After Thursday’s game evened the two team’s records, the Bees are beginning to make a case that they shouldn’t be the underdog much longer, especially if they get the same solid starting pitching.

“This probably won't be the last time we see him,” said Norman. “And probably the next time that we see him it will be for all the marbles in sectionals.”

Email Mike DeFabo at mdefabo@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

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