It became a historical evening at JayCee Ballpark when the St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers hosted the Galena Bulldogs for a Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League doubleheader Monday.
Colgan junior pitcher Christian Cedeno tossed a rarity on any level of baseball in the first game — a perfect game. He threw 74 pitches, 59 for strikes, and struck out 13, including Gabe Helton, Deven Newman and Kyler Cook in the seventh to achieve perfection in a 9-0 rout.
Colgan pitchers V.J. Piccini and Drew Dawson combined to allow one run on six hits over nine innings during a 2-1 win. Both runs were driven in by none other than Cedeno, who hit a walk-off sacrifice fly for the sweep. Piccini threw eight full innings and over 100 pitches.
“We have to start with Christian’s perfect game,” Colgan head coach Mike Watt said. “That’s just incredible. I’ve had a couple in 28 years, that just shows you how rare they are. He was in complete command from the beginning, I believe he threw 74 pitches in seven innings, kept them off-balance and kept filling the strike zone up.”
The Colgan defense was spotless behind Cedeno for the other eight outs. Colton Gilbert made a couple plays in right field on ropes hit by Galena catcher Aaron Cockerel in the third and sixth innings. Cockerel was the only Galena hitter to hit any ball out of the infield against Cedeno.
“They always say there’s one play in a game like that and Colton Gilbert made a great play on a fly ball,” Watt said. “He did it just like what we talk about in practice. He had to go back, swivel his head and made a great play.”
Christian was not the only Cedeno who enjoyed a great first game.
Designated hitter Ryan Cedeno came through with a 4-for-4, collecting three singles and a double. Cedeno both scored and drove in three runs, highlighted by a two-run single in the fifth.
“I’ve been bouncing some kids around looking for a DH-type player and this was Ryan’s opportunity,” Watt said. “Boy, did he take advantage of it? I mean, 4-4 with a double and three RBI. It was a great day for the Cedeno family.”
After the game, Christian Cedeno posed with several teammates and friends in photo opportunities, the joy in the atmosphere electric on the Colgan side.
Piccini allowed the first Galena baserunner on all night in the first inning of the nightcap and gave up the first hit to Logan Johnson to lead off the second. However, the Bulldogs only managed a single run over eight innings against Piccini — Trenton Little plated Darrell Adams with a RBI double in the third but Kyler Cook was thrown out at the plate and Galena had two more runners picked off later in the game which derailed potential rallies.
Page 2 of 2 - “V.J. threw eight great innings,” Watt said. “He felt strong and just kept going and going. He threw exceptionally well and then Drew came in and also threw well. I kind of laughed. Drew came in, threw 12 pitches and gets the win. V.J. threw 100 and gets a sore arm. That’s baseball.”
Piccini tossed 21 pitches in the first inning alone.
After a tough first game defensively, Galena played nearly flawless defense behind second game starter Jace Burris. Burris pitched eight innings, giving up only a single run on three hits, and collected 19 groundball outs.
“Proud of the kids,” Watt said. “We didn’t execute in a few places but you turn around and we made some really good plays, good decisions. Give Galena a lot of credit. We take it to them 9-0, Christian throws a perfect game and they came out and battled that second game. They played defense and they battled.”
Adams relieved Burris in the ninth and walked Tully Yoakam and Nate Grimaldi to begin the ninth. Colton Gilbert placed a perfect bunt up the third base line and despite fielding cleanly, Adams had nowhere to go with the ball to any of his three potential destinations and the bases were loaded with no outs.
Up comes Christian Cedeno, who drove in the first Colgan run earlier in the game. Galena head coach Ken Cook brings in Newman from right field to play a fifth infielder. Cedeno hits a fly ball to center fielder Little and it’s a challenge between Yoakam’s speed and Little’s arm. Yoakam slid home safely and Cedeno earned the game-winning RBI.
“What a way to end his day,” Watt said. “Throws a perfect game and gets the game-winning RBI.”
Colgan improved to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the CNC. The Panthers own a six-game winning streak after losing three one-run games to start the season.
Colgan 9, Galena 0
GAL 000 000 0 — 0 0 5
SMC 020 052 X — 9 12 0
Kyler Cook, Alex Bryant (5) and Aaron Cockerel. Christian Cedeno and Aaron Twarog. WP: Cedeno. LP: Cook. E: Bryant 3, Deven Newman 2. 2B: Ryan Cedeno. SH: Kaleb Hamilton, V.C. Piccini. SB: Drew Dawson, Nate Grimaldi. CS: Colton Gilbert. HBP: C. Cedeno 2. LOB: GAL 0, SMC 9.
Colgan 2, Galena 1 (9 innings)
GAL 001 000 000 — 1 6 0
SMC 001 000 001 — 2 4 1
Jace Burris, Darrell Adams (9) and Aaron Cockerel. V.J. Piccini, Drew Dawson (9) and Aaron Twarog. WP: Dawson. LP: Burris. E: Piccini. 2B: Trenton Little, Logan Johnson. SH: Gabe Helton; Ryan Cedeno, Kaleb Hamilton. SF: Christian Cedeno. CS: Johnson, Helton. HBP: Tully Yoakam, Nate Grimaldi.