by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Elk River’s Jordan Hollom not only pitched a 1-0 shutout against Anoka on Tuesday; he also broke up his mound opponent’s no-hitter by doubling home the lone run of the game.
“It was Jordan’s day, that’s for sure,” said coach Ryan Holmgren.
The lanky, 6-foot-2 senior right-hander fired a three-hitter with 12 strikeouts and one walk, and bested Anoka’s hulking right-hander Alex Glick, who had a one-hitter, eight strikeouts and three walks.
The game had high stakes, too. Anoka is 8-2 and Elk River 7-2 in the Northwest Suburban Conference, occupying the one-two spots, with Maple Grove and Centennial next at 6-4. The Elks can tie for the championship if they win at Maple Grove on Thursday (see below).
Hollom, who’s got two wins and two no-decisions in four starts, was locating his fast-ball where he wanted, said Holmgren, and got a couple strikeouts with breaking balls late in the game.
Meanwhile, Glick threw a heavy fast ball from a high release point with a downward trajectory that the Elks found difficult to hit. Tornado catcher Titus Bishop helped Glick by throwing out two base-stealers.
The Elks had two outs and nobody aboard in the sixth, still looking for their first hit, when Ben Boutaine, in his first at-bat, worked a walk from Glick. Boutaine was playing left field with Joe Gonrowski hitting for him, but Holmgren played “a hunch” and let the junior bat.
Up stepped Hollom, who had a 1-2 count when he turned on a Glick fast ball and drove it past the left-fielder, about 15 feet inside the line. Boutaine, running with the crack of the bat, was waved around third and scored standing up.
Holmgren had somebody warming up for the seventh inning, but when Holum got back in the dugout, their eyes met briefly and the coach changed his mind.
“He looked at me and I realized that it was not smart to take out the guy who’s rolling,” said Holmgren.
So Hollom was his own closer with a 1-2-3 seventh including two strikeouts.
By the way, that’s also his second game-winning hit; he had a walk off RBI single against Blaine, also with a line drive down the left-field line.
About the standings
The NWSC schedule usually includes two games against most of the teams, but after numerous weather-related postponements in April, the coaches elected to count only the first game against any conference rival. That’s worked out well for the Elks, who’ve split with Centennial and Blaine but won the all-important first one each time.
The Elks (8-5 overall) have only one game left that counts in the standings, at Maple Grove on Thursday, with a chance to pull even with Anoka, which has finished conference play. The Elks also still have their second (non-counting) games against Champlin Park, Anoka, Coon Rapids and Park Center left.