COEUR d'ALENE - After allowing two hits in their previous matchup against the Prairie Cardinals on June 4 at McEuen Field, Coeur d'Alene Lumbermen pitcher Pete Hoffman wanted to be closer to perfect the next time they faced off.
He almost was.
Hoffman struck out four and only allowed runners on a throwing error in the second inning and a walk with one out in the fifth, as the Lumbermen no-hit the Cardinals 12-0 in five innings of a North Idaho "AA" American Legion baseball game on Wednesday.
"He was just in control today, and is most days," Coeur d'Alene coach Lloyd Duman said. "He had a lot of ground ball outs. That's just how Pete pitches."
Nathan Collier reached on an error in the second inning for Prairie, which didn’t have another base runner until a walk to James Prockish in the fifth.
“I kind of knew the entire game,” Hoffman said of the no-hitter. “I only gave up a few hits the last time, so that was kind of in my head. Definitely in the last inning, I knew I was going for it.”
Hoffman pitched at Division III Willamette University in Salem, Ore., this past spring.
“It really helped a lot,” Hoffman said. “Just having the opportunity to play against older guys at a faster pace helped a lot. At that level, you can’t make any mistakes.”
Coeur d’Alene opened a 7-0 lead after the third inning, keyed by two-run doubles from Nick Nyquist and Jesse O’Hagen. Grant Curtis had a two-run double in the fourth as the Lumbermen put the game out of reach.
“We started putting the game in motion,” Duman said. “When we started to do that, we started to come alive.”
Duman added that he was a little concerned about his team’s energy on Wednesday.
“I was kind of worried at batting practice,” Duman said. “Our energy was a little low and we came out and played really well.”
Coeur d’Alene (18-3, 4-0 NIL) travels to Trail, British Columbia, today for a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m.
“We’re playing really well and it’s showing every time we come out,” Duman said. “What we try to emphasize is it’s their game to play — we’re just coaching and I think they’ve all bought into that.”
Prairie (12-9, 3-3) hosts the Aberdeen Bobcats to open the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Wood Bat Classic next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Post Falls High.
“Coeur d’Alene came to play and we did not,” Prairie coach Dustin Frank said. “We’re stretched pretty thin right now and used up a lot of pitching last weekend (at Best of the Northwest tournament). That’s why we had a hard time finding the zone today.”
Prairie is also without starting outfielder Gil Givens, who left to join the Naval Academy and Tony Davidson, who dislocated his right shoulder and is out for a few weeks.
“We’re down to 12 guys right now,” Frank said. “It looks like we’re going back to the drawing board right now. We need to get some things figured out by districts.”
“We saw Hoffman earlier this year,” Frank said. “He’s had our number and throws the ball fairly firm and lives around the zone. Coeur d’Alene always plays good defense and we’ve got to be on our ‘A’ game. If any one of our components — hitting, pitching and fielding — is off, they’re going to capitalize. And today, we were off on all three. That’s what happens against good teams like that — you get pounded.”
Prairie 000 00 — 0 0 2
Coeur d’Alene 007 5x — 12 12 1
Game ended in 5th inning due to 10-run rule.
Tyler Shaffer, Jeremy McKinney (3), Joe Schwalbach (3), Nathan Collier (4) and Zack Reeder; Pete Hoffman and Joe Roletto. W — Hoffman (4-1). L — Shaffer (3-2).
HITS: Pra — none. Cd’A — Robbins 3, N. Nyquist 2, O’Hagen 2, Comack 2, Curtis, Gonzalas, Roletto. 2B — Robbins, N. Nyquist, O’Hagen, Curtis.