Homestead senior pitcher Colten Poellinger, who has made throwing shutouts look easy this summer, labored a little bit Monday night against archrival Whitefish Bay.
But for the second game in a row, he had sophomore Trevor Cho by his side, as Cho cracked a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Blue Dukes, 2-0.
Last week, Cho had a game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth in a 1-0 Homestead win over Slinger that was also authored by Poellinger.
The first thing Homestead coach Ernie Millard did was praise both pitchers as Blue Duke sophomore Nick Lackney also blanked the Highlanders for six innings before giving way to Johnny Markwiese in the seventh.
"Both pitchers were unbelievable tonight," said Millard. "...I joked with Nick after the game 'Now you're all going to do us a favor and graduate two years early, right?' Sometimes he's had trouble with his control, but tonight was as good as I've seen him."
Both pitchers finished with nine strikeouts and four walks. Poellinger has now thrown 34 scoreless innings in a row.
"Colten didn't have his greatest control tonight, but even in a situation like this, he was still plenty good," said Millard, who noted that his ace gave up only two hits on the night. "Bay was by far the better team tonight in terms of getting the bat on the ball and we're not the greatest team in the world in terms of hitting, but with Colten, we've discovered all we have to do is score one."
And they finally got it in the bottom of the seventh.
Pinch-hitter Austin Ralph walked to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Alex Fish.
Cho then came up and hit a rocket-shot to rightfield right over the short-porch at Rennicke Field for a game-winning two-run homer.
"It's a short porch, yes," said Millard, "but he hit it really hard."
The win cemented Homestead's hold on second place in the North Shore at 9-4 (14-5 overall) while Bay fell to 7-5 and 13-7.
Millard and Poellinger later got a gracious compliment from Blue Duke coach Jay Wojcinski.
"He called me to tell me that he wasn't able to talk to Colten after the game," said Millard, "but he wanted to tell me that he's seen everyone's number one pitcher (in the conference) and that by far Colten is the best pitcher his team has seen."
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