Kulak K's Eight as No. 2 Neuqua Valley Rolls Again

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor - Illinois/Wisconsin

  Lake Park 0
No. 2 Neuqua Valley 6

NAPERVILLE, IL - Neuqua Valley has been nearly unbeatable all season, thanks in large part to their bats. Scoring more than seven runs a game, the Wildcats have marched their way to a 26-1-1 record, good for No. 2 in the PBR Power 25. But Thursday was all about the pitching, and particularly the left arm of junior James Kulak as he shutout Lake Park 6-0.

Kulak is one on the top uncommitted prospects in the state, and has given up just one run in his last two outings (14 innings). On Thursday he gave the Lake Park offense little chance as he was firing on all cylinders. Kulak’s upper 80’s fastball was his out-pitch on this night, whether is was dotting the bottom of the zone or getting chases up and out of it, his heater was lively and consistent for seven innings.

Kulak retired the first 15 batters he faced in order, striking out six to that point. The first batter of the sixth broke up the no-no, but Kulak wiped the slate clean getting a 4-6-3 double play and a strikeout to end the inning. Facing the minimum through six, he scattered a couple late hits but recorded his eighth strikeout of the the game to end the seventh and complete the shutout.

All the run support Kulak needed came in the first inning when the Wildcats jumped out for four runs. Jack Rigoni got the scoring started with an RBI knock followed by an RBI double off the bat of Evan Ranneklev. Drew O’Toole capped off the scoring in the first with a two RBI single.

Tim Schneider added an RBI single in the third while Rigoni drove in another run in the fourth with a sacrifice fly.

The 6-0 final improved the Wildcats record to 26-1-1, while Lake Park falls to 10-13.

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