BEECHER | Zach Aring couldn’t have asked for a better inaugural varsity baseball season for Beecher.
Aring, a junior right-hander, has tossed two no-hitters and leads the team in every pitching category. He's also the Bobcats' top hitter.
“This is my first year as varsity so it’s a pretty good year so far,” said Aring in a slight understatement.
Aring can make it an even better season for the Bobcats (17-8) as they open Class 2A regional play as the No. 3 seed with a first-round home game at 4:30 p.m. today against No. 6 Momence. The semifinal and championship games are at Momence on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The winner of the Momence-Beecher game gets No. 2 seed Manteno on Thursday.
“I would love to get a chance to pitch against (Manteno) because I’ve heard they’re a good team, and I like the competition,” Aring said.
Aring has compiled a remarkable 8-1 pitching record with a 1.23 ERA and 92 strikeouts. He also leads the team in batting with a .420 average (21-50).
He gives much of the credit to his offense, which stakes him to many leads in games, as evidence by the three runs in the first inning of Wednesday’s 4-0 no-hitter against Illinois Lutheran.
“When you’re a pitcher, you’ve got to thank your offense, too, when they score,” Aring said.
He’s also bolstered by senior catcher Brandon Wilson, who calls all the pitches.
“He’s very good at (that),” Aring said. “He knows what to do and what to pitch, especially when he starts remembering what they did last time.”
Beecher coach Brandon DuBois likes his No. 1 battery.
“Those two guys are making it pretty easy over here,” he said.
Wilson said Aring deserves all the accolades he’s received with the two no-nos.
“He’s by far been our best pitcher this year,” he said. “He’s been real consistent.”
Now, the big dilemma for DuBois is who to pitch against Momence. Does he go with his ace Aring, or throw junior left-hander Matt Barton, who’s compiled a 5-3 mark with a 1.53 ERA and 43 strikeouts? That would save Aring for Manteno.
“I haven’t decided yet,” DuBois said. “I’m tossing it back and forth .. It’s either going to be Zach or Barton. I have confidence in both. They both can go out and get the job done.
“I’ve got to do a little bit of scouting, talking to people to see if Manteno is better against righties or lefties.”