LOOGOOTEE — Over the first six games to start the baseball season, Loogootee (3-3) has struggled with consistency from its pitching staff. The lone exception would be southpaw Gabe Nolley.
Nolley threw his second straight no hitter during Thursday night’s 6-2 win over North Daviess (1-2) at Les Page Field.
Entering play Thursday evening, the Lions had been outscored 21-7 in two straight losses to North Knox and Heritage Hills and badly in need of a big pitching performance with a trip Friday night to see Blue Chip rival and Class A state runner-up Vincennes Rivet on the schedule. Nolley provided ample support and then some. The junior struck out eight, while walking two on 108 pitches in his second dominant performance in five days. Nolley threw a five-inning perfect game against Attica on Saturday afternoon.
“In a stretch like this where we are playing five games in five days, it is a huge lift to give the bullpen a day off and they needed it,” said Loogootee coach Luke Woolems.
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, the Lions took its first lead since sweeping two games over Attica and Springs Valley on Saturday. Jake Blackwell led the inning off with a single and a stolen base, followed by a walk to Nolley and a bunt single from Trevor Resler to load the bases with nobody out. Jake’s brother, Ben Blackwell brought him home with a sacrifice flyto give the Lions the 1-0 lead. In the next at-bat, Resler stole second and after a throw from North Daviess catcher Jacob Reed, Nolley broke for home plate and was called safe to push the lead to 2-0.
North Daviess starter Tommy Newby opened up the third with a walk to Hayden Bell and he was pulled by Cougars’ coach Zach Stoll in favor of Andrew Steffey. Bell stole second and then moved to third on a balk by Steffey. The new North Daviess pitcher was able to strike out Casey Miller and induce Branden Wilz into an RBI groundout to minimize the damage as the Lions took at 3-0 lead.