Josh Burke has achieved a lot throughout his life in the game of baseball.
The Jeffersonville senior helped the Jeff/GRC Little League All-Stars earn a berth in the Little League World Series in 2008. In 2010, he was a part of the Jeff/GRC squad that played in the Junior League World Series. In his high school career, Burke has assisted the Red Devils in winning two Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament championships, a pair of sectional crowns and a regional title last year.
On Thursday evening at Don Poole Field, Burke added another accomplishment to his prep resume.
The 6-foot-2 right-hander pitched the first no-hitter in his life, as Jeff defeated Providence in six innings, 10-0. The Red Devils (8-4) posted their seventh victory enacting the 10-run mercy rule this season.
Burke hit two Pioneers and allowed one walk while striking out four. Providence (7-5) managed only three baserunners and grounded out 10 times.
“My defense was just outstanding tonight. They’re always great to me,” Burke said. “First-pitch strikes were a big thing also, and of course, my curve ball finally working there towards the end. You’ve got to get ahead of them. My defense was key. They did a lot for me tonight.”
Jeff coach Derek Ellis had nothing but good things to say about Burke and the defense behind him afterwards.
“He threw a lot of groundballs and we played some pretty solid defense behind him. Our defense was very solid behind him,“ Ellis said. “He was hitting his spots and did a very nice job of keeping it down. Josh is a senior, he’s been around and he’s played a tremendous amount of baseball. He is a four-year letterman and he doesn’t get rattled. He does anything you ask of him.”
The Pioneers’ best chance to score was in the top of the first. Providence’s Ben Shahroudi, who was a teammate of Burke’s on both Jeff/GRC World Series teams, drew a one-out walk against Burke. The senior center fielder then advanced to second as Parker Graf ground out to third. Shahroudi reached third base on a Burke wild pitch, but the inning ended when Austin Dickey hit a grounder to Drew Ellis at shortstop.
Shahroudi was the only runner the Pioneers left in scoring position for the game. Providence coach Scott Hornung complimented Burke’s outing.
“He was pounding the [strike] zone. He was getting ahead in the count and he was challenging our hitters,” Hornung said. “He just kept challenging us with his fastball because we weren’t showing we were able to hit it. He pitched a smart game and he pitched a really good game. My hat goes off to him. When you throw a no-hitter, you’ve done something well and he did that tonight.”
Burke received a huge cushion in the bottom of the first when Jeff went through its entire lineup, scoring six runs on six hits.
Senior designated hitter Chandler Dale put the Red Devils up 2-0 with a two-run single to center with one out. Two batters later, junior Jared Burke smacked an RBI base hit to right off Providence starter Ryan Mueller to increase Jeff’s lead to 3-0.
After an RBI double by Ian Ellis, Josh Burke helped his own cause at the plate with a two-run single to left to give the Red Devils a 6-0 advantage.
Coach Ellis thought the Red Devils were ready to play since it was their first game this week. It had two games postponed because of rain earlier this week.
“The guys were chomping at the bit to get out here and play,” Derek Ellis said. “They were tired of hitting balls in [Jeff’s indoor hitting facility]. They wanted to play and they were excited. In the past couple of games, you can see that they were ready to play and hopefully we can continue that.”
The six-run lead helped Josh Burke get comfortable on the mound.
“Our offense has just been great the last few games,” he said. “When you have a lead like that, it’s much more relaxing on the mound. You also have a lot more confidence out there and you stay focused on what you’re doing.”
Jeff tacked on a run in the third and the fifth to up its lead to 8-0. Dale scored on a throwing error in the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the fifth, Ian Ellis drove in Jared Burke from first with a double that hit the left-field wall.
The Devils ended the contest with two runs in the sixth off Providence reliever Nick Richard. With two outs and the bases loaded, junior Nolan Fertig smacked an opposite-field single to left to drive in pinch-runner Eric Ross and Drew Campbell to put the mercy rule in effect.
Dale and Ian Ellis each went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Ian Ellis had two doubles and a run scored, while Dale scored twice and collected a double. Also for Jeff, Drew Campbell was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Jared Burke scored twice.
“Everybody in the lineup has pretty good swings and they all can hit,” Derek Ellis said. “It’s nice to see everybody swinging the bats pretty good.”
Mueller threw five innings, yielding eight runs — only three of which were earned — on 11 hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. After Jeff’s six-run first, Mueller gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits, fanning five and walking none.
“[In the first inning], he couldn’t throw the pitches that he needed to throw. Therefore, they were able to hit the ball well. They earned their runs in the first inning,” Hornung said. “But I was proud of the fact that after that, he settled down and got ahead in the count and was able to work more of his type of pitches, which he needs to do. It was another good job of him facing adversity after the 6-0 first inning.”
Jeff will travel to Class 3A No. 7 and defending 3A state runner-up Jasper tonight. Providence hosts a split doubleheader on Saturday with Switzerland County and Providence Cristo Rey from Indianapolis.
Thursday was the final chance for members of the 2008 Jeff/GRC Little League World Series team to face each other. Shahroudi, Dale, Josh Burke, Drew Ellis and Jeff’s Hayden Robb played on that memorable squad. Derek Ellis was the team’s manager.
JEFFERSONVILLE 10, PROVIDENCE 0
Providence 000 000— 0 0 2
Jeffersonville 601 012—10 13 0
W — Josh Burke (3-0). L — Ryan Mueller (1-2). 2B — Ian Ellis 2 (J), Hayden Robb (J), Drew Ellis (J), Chandler Dale (J).
Records — Jeff 8-4, Providence 7-5.