The Free Press, Mankato, MN


May 18, 2014

Waseca's Sylvester pitches gem for 1st win

Right-hander fanned 11, smacked RBI double

MANKATO — Colby Sylvester doesn’t have to wait any longer.

After nearly two years pitching for the varsity squad, the burly right-hander from Waseca finally secured his first win in a complete game gem, leading the Bluejays to a 6-1 victory Saturday over Mankato Loyola at Franklin Rogers Park.

“I pitched all last year as a sophomore, and just couldn’t get over the edge,” Sylvester said. “It felt awesome to get this win.”

Sylvester struck out 11 batters, including three straight in the third, and also added an RBI double in the seventh.

“This was a breakout game for Colby,” Waseca head coach Joel Hayford said. “He was mixing up his pitches very well, and keeping a good Loyola team off balance. He’s really come on the last few games; his control has gotten much better. It was just a great performance.”

The Crusaders grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first, when a Waseca throwing error led to a Shane Sellner RBI single that scored Jake Peller.

It was a pitcher’s duel for the first half of the game, as Loyola starter Brett Taylor shut out the Blue Jays for the first three frames.

Sparked by clutch two-out hitting, the Bluejays gained the lead in the fourth. With two on and two outs and facing a 1-2 count, Lucas Hagel smacked Taylor’s offering to left field, scoring Cody Ulfers. Jack Paczkowski followed with a two-run single to left, giving the Jays a 3-1 advantage.

Waseca added a pair of two-out insurance runs in the seventh, forcing out Taylor, who finished with seven strikeouts in the loss.

“We got a lot of clutch hitting today,” Sylvester said. “Our bats really woke up.”

Sylvester cruised the rest of the way. Loyola could manage only a few scattered hits, but two hits helped load the bases in the seventh. With one out, Sylvester completed his win the same way he finished the first inning: by forcing the Crusaders to ground into a double play.

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