LORAIN — Cam Knott keeps proving he’s not a fluke.
The Lorain County Ironmen pitcher won his league-leading fourth game Tuesday, defeating the Butler BlueSox 5-3 at The Pipe Yard.
In the process, he lowered his ERA to 0.34 — the third-best mark in the Prospect League — and struck out six to raise his season total to 27, which is tied for second.
If it weren’t for a pitch count, Knott might have made history with the first no-hitter in Ironmen history.
The Willoughby native allowed only two runners to reach base, both in the fourth inning, by hitting one and walking the other. Knott, who is scheduled to pitch again Sunday, gave way to the bullpen after throwing 82 pitches over seven innings.
“Overall, I thought I did pretty good,” Knott said. “I got all my pitches over the plate and did what I needed to do. I wasn’t too worried about going back out to finish the game since I need to come back again on Sunday.
“I probably would have gone back out there if I didn’t have to pitch again Sunday.”
“It was phenomenal,” Ironmen manager Joe Rhomberg said of Knott’s performance. “Unfortunately we stuck with our game plan with his pitch count since he’s starting twice this week. We extended him to 110 pitches in his last start. Normally these guys pitch every six days, but once a week someone has to go every five and it’s his turn this week so we didn’t want to extend him twice.
“So we stuck with the game plan. It’s early in the season and we don’t want anything to happen to him.”
Knott retired the first 10 batters before hitting Alex Milkos with one out in the fourth inning. Knott walked the next batter, Matt Peters, to put runners on first and second.
The fourth batter of the inning hit a grounder to shortstop Nate Langhals for what looked to be a routine 6-4-3, inning-ending double play. Langhals, however, was unable to field the ball cleanly and Milkos came home to put Butler up 1-0. Peters scored with two outs to make it 2-0.
Lorain County (8-11) tied it up in the bottom of the inning on a single by Billy Salem that scored Zach Ratliff. A wild pitch brought home Tyler Bires to tie the score at 2.
Lorain County took the lead for good in the sixth inning as Isaac Smith scored on a dropped third strike. Derek Sprout added a solo shot over the left-field fence to put the Ironmen up 4-2.
Sprout’s home run, his third of the season, tied him with Ratcliff for the league lead.
“I got a pitch I could elevate with a 3-1 count,” Sprout said. “I just saw it come in and I hit it pretty well. I’m not known for being a home run guy but that’s more Ratcliff. I just like to put the ball in play and hit it hard every opportunity I get.”
Smith’s RBI double in the sixth put the Ironmen up 5-2 and gave Lorain County some breathing room. Butler (11-8) got their first and only hit of in the game in the eighth inning on a Taylor Schmidt single. A passed ball brought in Chris Kayton to pull the Blue Sox within 5-3, but that was all they could muster as the bullpen closed out the game.
“Good pitching beats good hitting,” said Butler manager Anthony Rebyanski, whose team fell out of first place in the East Division. “I think we have a great hitting club and we’ve showed that. (Knott) kept the ball down, kept his pitches mixed up and threw a very good game.
“You got to tip your hat to him.”
- WHO: Lorain County vs. Butler
- TIME: 6:35
- WHERE: Pullman Park, Butler, Pa.
Contact Hans Schneider at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.