With the oppressive July sun beating down on the baseball field at James Hubert Blake High School, Jamie Dejter took his sign from catcher Brian Battaglia.
The Cissel Saxon Post 41 right-hander delivered a pitch that sailed past Battaglia and all the way to the black chain-link fence behind home plate. The battery mates had crossed their signals. Dejter thought he saw one finger, the fastball, but Battaglia actually threw down two for a curveball.
After throwing the ball back to Dejter, Battaglia turned to the umpire and said, “Thank God that wasn't over the plate or it would have been right on my chest.”
It was one of the few times on the sweltering Thursday afternoon that Dejter missed his spot.
The rising sophomore at Sailsbury University and graduate of Sherwood High pitched six standout innings against Wheaton Post 268 in Cissel Saxon's 8-1 victory.
“I was just trying to establish the fastball and throw strikes at first,” Dejter said. “Then in the second inning, I realized my curveball was there, so I kept going to that for the rest of the game. It was hot. I just tried to stay cool, keep my pitch count down so I wasn't out there for too long.”
The temperature throughout the game remained in the high 90s and Dejter said he drank three bottles of water and a Gatorade to keep cool. At one point, he retired 10 in a row as Wheaton (2-12) failed to solve the righty's trio of pitches.
Dejter only ran into trouble in the top of the third. After back-to-back hits and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out, Dejter coaxed a sacrifice fly, then retired the next two hitters to escape the jam with minimal damage. The magic act helped Cissel Saxon (10-6) maintain its momentum from a five-run second inning. Battaglia delivered the big hit in that rally — a two-run single was misplayed in the outfield, allowing Chase Hunt to score from first and clear the bases.
“It's all about hitting. Hitting seems to make everything else contagious. When you hit, everything else falls into place,” said Post 41 coach Scott Dunlap, whose team also played error-free baseball.
After starting the season 9-1 — on the heels of finishing last season 4-24 — Post 41 lost five in a row before winning Thursday.
“We hit a rough patch the last couple of games,” Dejter said. “We started off strong and we're just trying to carry that momentum through to the end of the season.”
Cissel Saxon Post 41 8, Wheaton Post 268 1
Wheaton Post 268 (2-12) 001 000 0 — 1
Cissel Saxon Post 41 (10-6) 250 001 0 — 8