While he was warming up before his Wednesday night start against Fort Osage High School, Grain Valley junior Jacob Misiorowski was having trouble getting his pitches over the plate.
That was not a problem once the game started a few minutes later, as the lanky right-hander threw his first career no-hitter, blanking the Indians 12-0 in a five-inning mercy rule game that featured a highlight reel defensive gem by second baseman Seth Dankenbring that preserved the milestone win.
“I was really having problems getting the ball over the plate warming up, but I think that strong crosswind helped me once the game started,” said Misiorowksi, who has verbally committed to Oklahoma State University.
“I didn’t have much command on my offspeed stuff, and they were having trouble catching up to my fastball, so I threw three offspeed pitches and the rest fastballs. I had a lot of confidence in my fastball and Caden (Matlon) called a great game. We were on the same page the entire game.”
There would have been no postgame no-hit chatter had it not been for a diving stop of a Sam Carlson line drive to start the top of the fifth inning by Dankenbring.
“Seth saved the day, didn’t he?” asked a smiling Misiorowski. “He made a great play and the guys really backed me up offensively and defensively. This was just a great win. I love the guys on this team and you saw why today. We really care about each other, on and off the field.”
When Misiorowski collected his eighth strikeout to end the game, the players on the bench rushed to the mound with bottles of water, to give him a celebratory dunking.
“That was cool. It was just so cool that everyone wanted to celebrate,” Misiorowski said. “We’re a pretty close team, and today, offense, defense and pitching was all working.”
The Eagles, however, did break a cardinal rule when it comes to no-hitters.
“Someone mentioned that I had a no-hitter going late in the game, but I kind of knew,” Misiorowski said. “But I know that I wouldn’t have had it without Seth’s play in the fifth inning.”
Dankenbring said he was playing a deep second base, just in case a hard line drive came his way.
“If I’m up at my usual position, I don’t know if I make that play,” said Dankenbring, who had two hits and scored two runs. “I do know this – I’d stop a ball anyway possible to help any of our pitchers. But we all knew Jacob had the no-hitter and we wanted to make sure he got it. And we did!”
On most days, a 12-hit, 12-run offensive performance would grab the headlines.
“No, Jake deserves the headlines today,” said outfielder Trent Flake, who had a bases-loaded, three-run double and an RBI single. “... When you throw a no hitter you deserve all the attention. He’s one of the best guys I know, he deserves all the attention.”
Matlon said Misiorowski was in command from his first pitch.
“His fastball was unbelievable tonight,” said Matlon, who had an RBI single and two-run double. “They couldn’t hit it. He was pretty much unhittable – one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of. It was my first no-hitter and I hope I get the chance to catch another one.”
Perhaps the most appreciative Eagle was coach Brian Driskell, who simply marveled at his team’s performance.
“To see Seth Dankenbring make that play in the fifth, to see our offensive performance and to see Jacob throw like he did tonight is pretty special,” Driskell said after the Eagles improved to 2-2 with the non-conference win.
“Jacob is a great – and I mean a great – high school pitcher, and he is so humble and such a great teammate. That’s what makes me so happy. You saw all the kids dousing him with water and then they all went over and congratulated Seth on that defensive play. These kids really care about each other.”
While he was disappointed with his 1-5 Indians’ performance, Fort Osage coach Todd Bissell had to tip his cap to Misiorowski.
“We couldn’t catch up to any of his fastballs,” Bisssell said. “The kid threw a great game. We kicked it around a little and didn’t play a very good game, but you have to give all the credit to Brian and his kids tonight.”
The newest Eagle Grain Valley assistant baseball coach Dom Giangrosso missed the big win, but had a good reason.
His wife gave birth to Cora Louise Wednesday afternoon a Centerpoint Hospital.
“We’ll let him get away with missing this,” said Driskell, who was showing photos of Cora Louise to Eagles fans after the game. “We’re so happy for Dom and his wife. We have a new Eagles fan!”
It was a banner day for the Grain Valley pitchers. Junior varsity pitcher Colin Maszczynski followed Misiorowski’s no-hitter with a perfect game in a 15-0, four-inning win over Fort Osage.