ELKHORN—An added pitch to his arsenal allowed RVR Bank Post 20 senior Ryan Dix to toss the first no-hitter of his varsity career Friday afternoon in a 5-0 win over Bellevue East in the Elkhorn Wood Bat Classic.
Dix added a sinker to his repertoire Thursday during the team’s on the field batting practice. All it took was a quick tutorial from teammate Brandt Phillips and a handful of tosses “Five minutes, it was pretty quick,” Dix said.
The pitch, an offshoot of a fastball, retains the majority of the velocity of a fastball, but with more downward movement as the ball approaches home plate with the goal of the pitch to induce weaker contact by missing the center of the bat’s barrel.
It’s debut Friday produced the desired results—11 groundouts, six flyouts and four strikeouts.
“The defense had my back,” Dix said.
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Just two pitches kept Dix from a perfect outing as he plunked a batter in the fourth and fifth inning.
The first was left stranded after a punchout ended the frame and the second was turned into an inning-ending double play,
All told, he needed just 69 pitches to work through the seven innings.
“No-hitters don’t happen every day, so those are special anytime they happen, but also just how efficient he was,” said Fremont coach Jeff Hayden. “It’s impressive to go out and just deal.”
The offensive gave Dix all the run support he would need in the top of the first as the first four batters notched hits.
Collin Ridder started things with a double then scored on a Brooks Eyler single—the speedy third baseman was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Phillips helped his bullpen mate with a two run-shot over the left field fence to make it 3-0, scoring Jackson Cyza, who reached on a single.
The offense would flare up again in the top of the seventh. Eyler notched his second RBI of the game with a double, scoring Cooper Weitzel, who reached on a hit by pitch to lead-off the inning.
Ridder, who notched a single and moved to third on the double, scored on a passed ball to set the final score.
RVR Bank was hampered by a boom-or-bust offensive output Friday.
Between the two games Friday, RVR Bank scored in just three out of the 13 innings played, scoring all five runs in a 7-5 loss to Elkhorn in one frame.
“Offensively, we have to do a little bit better job of being consistent as far as scoring runs every inning,” Hayden said. “We did a good job overall of putting together good at-bats. We had a plethora of opportunities to bust that thing open and take some pressure off ourselves, but we didn’t and that’s baseball.”
Post 20 looked in command of the opening game of the day after an inning and a half.
RVR Bank starter Phillips struckout the side in the bottom of the first inning, which rolled into a five-run explosion in the top of the second.
Eyler put the first run on the board by beating out an infield single with the bases loaded. Cyza followed with a two-run double to set the early lead at 3-0.
Following a walk to reload the bases, Dom Escovedo produced an RBI groundout and Landon Schurman popped an RBI single to set the lead at 5-0.
Phillips’ command escaped him in the bottom of the second as Elkhorn worked five walks off the right-hander. The second and third free pass of the frame both brought in runs.
The Antlers got two more runs back on a single before a RVR Bank error allowed the tournament hosts to tie the game at 5-5.
Phillips, who finished with six strikeouts to seven walks, got out second without yielding the lead and put up a zero in the third before handing the ball off to Logan Eggen.
Neither side would put up a run until the bottom of the sixth when a lead-off triple would turn into a run for the Antlers on a wild pitch issued by Eggen.
Four batters later, Eyler, who came on in relief of Eggen, tossed the second wild pitch of the inning, allowing another Elkhorn run to come across.
That’d be the final action of the game as the contest was finalized on that play after reaching the two-hour time limit.
RVR Bank Post 20 will face Creighton Prep at 9:30 a.m. for its final pool-play game.