Baseball: Oak Forest’s Joe Funkhouser fires no-hitter vs. Tinley Park
By Randy Whalen For Sun-Times Media May 6, 2014 8:22PM
Updated: June 8, 2014 6:35AM
Joe Funkhouser wasn’t concerned with throwing a no-hitter. The Oak Forest right-hander never had been in that position before.
In the end, Funkhouser found the fortitude to complete his first career no-hitter as the host Bengals blanked Tinley Park 5-0 in a South Suburban Blue tussle Tuesday.
The victory improved Oak Forest to 16-7, 9-3. The Titans fell to 7-12, 2-10.
“I’ve never been close before,” Funkhouser said of the no-hitter. “I didn’t even play baseball as a freshman and didn’t start pitching until I was a sophomore.
“I’ve always been pretty much in the shadow of my older brother, Kyle Funkhouser, who is now at Louisville.”
The younger Funkhouser improved to 3-1 by striking out six, walking three and hitting a batter.
Funkhouser got all the support he needed when the Bengals scored four runs in the first inning. Brian Richard started the scoring by knocking an RBI single up the middle. He later scored on a passed ball. Luke Heniff (2-for-3) added a two-run single.
Oak Forest added a run in the fifth when Alex Maka scored on a double steal with two outs. Dan Hlad and Matt Zubek went 2-for-3 as the Bengals finished with 10 hits.
After allowing five hits in the one-third of an inning, Titans right-hander Kanon Saavedra settled in and only allowed five hits in the final 52/3 innings. He had no strikeouts and one walk.
Funkhouser had the Titans off balance all day, with just one out recorded in the air. The Bengals, who committed two errors, turned two double plays.
There was a moment of concern at the very end, however. With a runner on first and two outs in the seventh, Funkhouser got ahead of Zach Moravec 0-and-2. On the follow-through of the next pitch, a ball, Funkhouser landed hard and had to walk it off and regroup.
“I stepped hard off the mound,” Funkhouser said. “I had a pain in my hip, and it still huts if I stand the wrong way.”
The next two pitches were also balls, bringing the count full. After two foul balls, Funkhouser completed his gem by getting a groundout to Maka at third.
“I have a good relationship with my catcher,” said Funkhouser of Joe Muller, who visited the mound after the hard landing in the seventh. “Tinley Park and Bremen are rival schools with us, so to do it against (Tinley) makes it more enjoyable.”