MUSCODA - It will go down as the greatest pitching performance in Riverdale Chieftain baseball history – senior pitcher Elijah Cannon struck out 25 hitters in a complete 10-inning game to win over Darlington last Thursday evening.
Cannon gave up just one hit, that coming in the ninth inning.
“Just an unbelievable performance against a very good hitting team,” exclaimed Coach Curt Thompson. “I have never witnessed anything like it.”
Cannon, who was coming off a 17-strike-out performance against Iowa-Grant, has struck out 63 batters in his last 28 innings pitched. He has not given up an earned run during that streak.
On a cool, breezy, and rainy night, you could tell from the start that this was going to be a game dominated by pitchers, as Cannon battled Cohen of Darlington. Neither team would get a hit until the sixth inning when Chieftain catcher Bradon Roen singled to left with two outs. Roen quickly stole second, but Riverdale did not score.
Meanwhile, Cannon was dominating, striking out the other side in the first, second, fifth, sixth, seventh, and tenth innings. At one point striking out seven straight hitters.
In the ninth inning both teams threatened. In the top of the inning Trevor Johnson reached second on a one out throwing error. Caleb Johnson followed and was intentionally walked. Cannon came to bat and scalded a line shot down the first base line that was caught by the Darlington first baseman and turned into a double play.
“Tough break and at that point you thought maybe it was not our night,” said the coach.
In the bottom of the ninth, Darlington got a one out single to right, followed by a sac bunt. The next hitter was intentionally walked to put two on base. A pair of stolen bases put runners on second and third with two outs. Cannon escaped with a strikeout to get the Chieftains out of the jam.
“Elijah kept his composure,” said Coach Thompson. “Darlington tried a couple of things with the delayed steals, but he kept his focus on the hitter.”
In the tenth inning, Riverdale finally got on the scoreboard. Michael Schaefer led off, reached on an error, and then slyly stole second. Ty Hougan followed with a solid single to center to put runners on the corners. Dalton Haile scorched a single to center to drive in Schaefer for the first scoring run. Number nine hitter Ethan Haffner coaxed a walk to load the bases. One out later, Trevor Troxel whistled a line drive single to center to chase home two more. Walks to T. Johnson and C. Johnson would push home a run for 4-0.
In the bottom of the tenth, Cannon finished things off, retiring the first two hitters on strikeouts before a hit batsman and walk put two on. Cannon reached back into the tank one more time to strike out the final hitter of the game and complete his amazing performance.
The win moves Riverdale into a first place tie with Darlington in the SWAL Conference.
It is thought that Elijah’s performance most likely is a state record and Riverdale’s coach is checking into it at this point. But for those who were there on Thursday night, you witnessed a special performance that you will most likely never see again.
“This is one of those games you will be talking about forever, sitting around 10-15 years from now,” said the coach. “The story will start with “Remember, that game at Darlington…””
Pitching stats: IP-HITS-RUNS-ER-BB-STRIKEOUTS: Cannon 10-1-0-0-3-25