Beals tosses second no hitter in school history

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

Dylan Beals pitched a six-inning no-hitter in the opener, and the Illinois Valley High School baseball team swept a doubleheader from District 6 rival Riddle last week. The Cougars are now 11-4 on the year, while holding a 7-2 record in District 6. Despite the two wins, IVHS dropped one spot to No. 15 in the 2A baseball rankings by the OSAA this week.
Beals dominated the Irish in Friday’s opener, allowing just two walks and striking out 10 in his sparkling no-hit complete game, as I.V. romped to a 10-0 win.
Illinois Valley opened the scoring with four runs in the bottom of the first, and added solo runs in the second and third frames before scoring a pair of runs in both the fourth and sixth innings to invoke the 10-run rule.

Dylan Beals on the mound during his no hitter Friday, May 4 at IVHS.

Beals got things started with a one-out walk. After Beals stole second base, Zack Dugas reached on an error, scoring Beals. Jozia Williams walked and both he and Dugas stole to put runners on second and third for Bryson Gilmore. Dugas and Williams scored when Bryson Gilmore hit a double, making the score 3-0 in the inning. Kegan Russell and Kaiden Green both walked, loading the bases for Mike Miller. Miller’s single plated Gilmore, and the Cougars were on their way.
Illinois Valley ended the game early with two runs in the sixth. Russell led off the sixth with a walk, and Green was hit by a pitch. Miller got his second RBI single, scoring Russell and making the score 9-0. When Braedan Lapora singled, scoring Green with the 10th run, the game was halted.
I.V. unleashed 10 hits in the victory. Williams, Gilmore, and Miller each collected a pair of hits. Gilmore had three RBIs and Miller had two. Talen Schaffer had one hit and an RBI. Beals got a hit and scored twice. Green had one hit, two walks and an RBI. Lapora’s game ender was the remaining Cougar hit. Although he did not get a hit, Russell reached base three times via walks.
“Beals was dealing in game one,” said Illinois Valley coach Jesse Dugas. “It was a masterful performance – 68 pitches, complete game, double digit punch outs. The no-hitter is just the second one in school history. He pitched lights out.”
The second game of the doubleheader was much closer as the Cougars escaped with a 7-6 win to complete the sweep. Illinois Valley rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win the game.
“Riddle threw their ace in game two, trying to get a split I guess,” said Dugas. “It was a tighter game, and their kid threw well. I’m really proud of our kids for battling the way they did and continuing to grind.”
The Irish scored five runs in the top of the third, with Illinois Valley giving the visitors plenty of help. The Cougars surrendered two walks, a hit batter and made a pair of errors in staking Riddle to the early lead.
I.V. answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Schaffer led off with a walk, scoring when Miller doubled. After Beals sacrificed him to third, Miller scored on a passed ball.
With LaPora holding the Irish scoreless in his stint on the mound, Illinois Valley tied the game with three runs in the fifth stanza. Schaffer again got things started, leading off the frame with a single. After stealing second, he scored when Beals reached on an error by the Irish second baseman. Beals stole second and scored when Williams doubled, cutting the deficit to 5-4. Williams stole third and scored on an error by the catcher, tying the game at 5-5.
Illinois Valley took the lead with a pair of runs in the sixth. Russell led off by getting hit by the pitch. Jeremiah Izzo came in as the courtesy runner for Russell, who was catching. Izzo stole second and moved to third on another error by Riddle’s second baseman. Green laid down a sacrifice bunt, scoring Izzo with the go-ahead run. Jackson Tincher gave the Cougars an insurance run as the next batter. Tincher walked, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Tincher scored on yet another Irish error, giving IV the insurance run they needed to counteract a seventh inning run by the Irish.
Illinois Valley was held to just 4 hits in the game. Miller and Wiliams both had doubles and an RBI apiece. Russell and Schaffer got the other hits for the Cougars. I.V. was able to take advantage of six free passes (5 walks and a hit batsman).
Lapora picked up the win on the mound, in relief of Dugas. Lapora tossed four innings giving up just one unearned run in the third. He gave up 2 hits, while allowing no walks and fanning one. Gilmore tossed the final inning, earning a clutch save inducing a ground-out with the tying run on second base. He gave up one run on 1 hit and a walk.
Illinois Valley is slated to play a doubleheader against Bonanza at home this week. The games are the openers of a three-game set with the Antlers that should determine District 6’s playoff seeding. The Cougars were scheduled to travel to Bonanza for a single game Tuesday, but that game was rescheduled for Thursday, May 16. The games with Bonanza now become critical to I.V.’s playoff hopes as only two teams from District 6 are guaranteed spots in the tourney. After dispatching the Irish last week, Illinois Valley holds the second spot with their 7-2 league record, but the Antlers trail by a game and a half in the standings with a 5-3 mark. If Illinois Valley can take two of three from Bonanza, they would clinch a spot in the state tourney.
“We are looking forward to the key match-up with Bonanza this week,” said Dugas. “There’s lots at stake. The boys have been putting in the work and are ready to go.”