Ike Roth picked a good time to have one of his best games.
The Jefferson pitcher tossed a complete-game gem as the Blue Devils earned a 3-0 victory over the Merchants in a critical Home Talent Sunday League game Sunday at Norse Park in Stoughton.
Roth held a Stoughton team that was batting .350 on the season to just a pair of hits.
“They’re probably one of, if not the best hitting teams in the league,” Roth said. “Having everything working and only giving up two hits, that’s probably one of the best games I’ve thrown, especially against a team like that.”
Roth retired 18 straight batters from the third to the ninth innings to go along with six strikeouts.
The win caps a big week for Jefferson. The Blue Devils now sit in second place in the division at 8-2. The win Sunday puts Jefferson one half-game ahead of Stoughton (8-3) and one-and-a-half games ahead of Evansville, who the Blue Devils beat on Thursday.
“It was a really good week,” Wagner said. “To beat teams like Evansville and Stoughton and to be in the top two or three after this weekend is a testament to how good our team is.”
After four scoreless innings of play, it looked like Jefferson would finally get a score on the board in the fifth. The Blue Devils had runners on first and third with two outs, but leadoff-man Dustin Moldenhauer popped up to end the inning.
In the seventh, Jefferson got a runner on first with no outs, but a flyout and double play quickly ended the inning.
The Blue Devils started off the top of the eighth similarly, as Brian Klug singled up the middle to put a man on first with no outs.
Moldenhauer moved Klug over to second with a bunt and then a fielder’s choice moved Klug over to third with two outs.
Roby Schlesner finally broke the deadlock at 0-0 with an RBI single.
After a scoreless bottom of the inning, Jefferson gave Roth some breathing room in the top of the ninth.
With runners on second and third, Brandon Laesch drove in the second run of the game with a shallow hit to right field.
Zack Peterson singled in another run with a ground ball to left field.
“We talked about going into the ninth that one run is never good enough against a team like Stoughton,” Wagner said. “To get two more was huge.”
Roth went into the bottom of the eighth with retiring 17 straight Stoughton batters. After striking out leadoff-man Irvin Medina, the streak ended as Roth gave up his first walk of the day.
The miscue didn’t phase him however, as he pitched into two straight outs to end the inning and the game.
“The cutter was working today,” Roth said. “I was able to put it where I wanted it, it had speed and movement.”
The Blue Devils will host Fort Atkinson (6-3) Saturday at 1 p.m. Jefferson also will play on Sunday at Waterloo (1-6) at 5 p.m.
JEFFERSON 3, STOUGHTON 0
Blue Devils 000 000 012 — 3 11 0
Merchants 000 000 000 — 0 2 1
Pitching (ip-h-er-bb-so) — J: Roth (W-9-2-0-1-6); S: Riffle (L-8-9-3-0-3), Herdenez (1-2-0-0-1)
Leading hitters — J: Schlesner 2x4, Cory Roth 2x4 (2B), Laesch 2x4, Peterson 2x4