DIXON – Brandon Jagitsch left Thursday's baseball game against visiting LaSalle-Peru hoping it's not his turn to do the laundry at home.
The Dixon senior wasted no time in muddying up the right side of his black jersey and white baseball pants after a display of heads-up baserunning in a 10-1 loss to the visiting Cavaliers in a Northern Illinois Big-12 West game at Veterans Memorial Field.
"Sometimes, I have to do it," Jagitsch said while looking down at his dirtied pant legs. "Hopefully not tonight, though."
Jagitsch finished 1-for-3 in the game and made his impact early. With a steady rain falling from the dark grey clouds, Jagitsch ended up with a standing double after he drove a high fastball deep to left field with one out in the bottom half of the second. His hit drew cheers from the home dugout, and breathed life into the Dukes who already trailed 4-0 after allowing four runs in the first.
He just missed hitting his first home run of the season, as the ball hit off the base of the wall. Dukes coach Sam Gallucci thought that even if a slight wind were blowing out, the ball would've went over the fence.
Jagitsch was determined to come around and touch home, however, and bolted for third on a steal attempt when the Cavaliers catcher Max Strickland couldn't handle the next pitch. Strickland, in a hurry to throw out Jagitsch, threw the wet baseball into left field. Jagitsch got up from his slide and ran home, beating the tag to score the Dukes' lone run of the game.
"I knew I had to at least get third," Jagitsch said. "Then I saw the ball go over my head, and I just had to give everything I had and make it home.
"We had to get a run on the board to get out of the slump," he continued. "We had no runs and no momentum, so I was hoping it would give us a little bit more."
Cavaliers pitcher Noah Lamboley dampened any other signs of life from the Dukes (4-9, 0-4 NIB-12), who mustered just one more hit off the right-hander in the game, a single from leadoff hitter Ryan Dixon in the third.
Lamboley dominated the strike zone with a hard fastball, and took advantage of an uneasy Dixon offense that looked out of sync throughout.
"He could hit all his spots," Jagitsch said of Lamboley who had 12 strikeouts. "We were watching the first pitch, and just about every one of them was a strike. We have to jump on the ball sooner."
Of Dixon's 25 at-bats, Lamboley threw 17 first-pitch strikes. Just eight times he threw a ball
"We just didn't swing the bat when we needed to," Dixon catcher Nate Grocke said. "I think if we went up aggressive and swung earlier, we would've been alright."
The Cavaliers did what the Dukes wanted to do at the plate, and swung early. Eight of the nine batters in the Cavaliers' lineup scored at least one run and had at least one hit.
They scored four runs in both the first and third innings, and tacked on another two in the fourth. The pair of runs in the fourth was the end for Dukes starting pitcher Mitchel Wolfe (1-2), who labored through the rain and aggressive hitters.
The Dukes aren't done with the Cavaliers, yet, as the two teams are set to play a doubleheader today at LaSalle.
"They definitely earned that win," Gallucci said of the Cavaliers. "They had 18 hits, so they beat us pretty good. We just needed to hit more. Hopefully we can do that [Friday]."
Star of the game: Noah Lamboley, LaSalle-Peru, 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 12 K.
Key performers: Brandon Jagitsch, Dixon, 1-for-3, 2B, R
Up next: Dixon at LaSalle-Peru (2), 4:30 p.m. today