Things turned quickly from just another American Legion baseball regular season night to "double no-hitter night" Thursday at Whitey Herzog Field in Belleville.
Recent Althoff High graduate Ryan Marcum tossed a no-hitter for the Belleville Hilgards' Senior Legion team in a 2-0 victory over Highland.
Marcum followed up a no-hitter by Althoff junior Austin Keen in the earlier Junior Legion game as the Belleville I hurler shut down Belleville II 11-0 in six innings.
"Nobody said anything about it, but I think it's fairly uncommon," said Belleville manager Zach Rakowski, whose 25-12 team has won the District 22 South Division regular-season title.
As Marcum piled hitless inning after hitless inning on top of what Keen had already done, the excitement level grew.
"He really steamrolled through the fourth an fifth and you could feel the momentum for it," Rakowski said of Marcum, who recently returned to the mound after a shoulder injury and has posted three straight complete-game wins over Newburgh, Ind., Trenton and now Highland.
"He had the shoulder problem this spring and we just waited," Rakowski said. "I told him when he was ready to pitch to let me know and we'd get him out there. He's just been pounding the strike zone and getting ahead of most guys, letting the defense work for him.
"He's pitching with a lot of confidence and has good mound presence."
Marcum struck out two and walked six.
"They hit a couple balls hard at people, but there weren't any really diving plays or anything," Rakowski said.
Keen struck out 10 and walked three in his no-hitter against the other Belleville squad.
"As the Senior Legion coach it's always great when you see the Junior Legion guys have success because those are the guys that are going to be battling for you down the line," Rakowski said.