By Shannon Heaton
For the Herald
CLINTON — Even after injuries and major trades took away three Clinton LumberKings starting pitchers, the top remaining one doesn't consider himself to be an ace yet.
Try telling that to the Burlington Bees after Kenn Kasparek spun a three-hit, complete-game shutout in Monday night’s 5-0 win at Alliant Energy Field, becoming the first LumberKing to pitch a complete game since 2005.
Kasparek (8-5) threw just 93 pitches (75 strikes) in the victory, allowing solid singles in the fourth and ninth innings and an infield hit to fleet centerfielder Patrick Norris in the sixth. He struck out nine batters and didn't walk one.
He faced 30 batters and none of them reached a three-ball count. It was his first complete game in pro ball and first shutout since throwing a no-hitter for Texas in April 2008.
"Today was a fine example of having consistent controls with the pitches I threw throughout the game," said Kasparek, who admitted to not feeling that great during his pregame warmup. "You don't really get a rhythm until you're out there in the game, but I think my stuff got better throughout the game."
Clinton pitching coach Lance Painter attributed Kasparek's better starts — including his last five before Monday's sparkling effort — to a better use of his 6-10 frame.
"He's using his body to help him, and we've seen a significant difference in his stuff,” Painter said. “He still needs a little more work on his changeup, but his breaking ball is much tougher. He throws it four or five miles per hour harder than he used to, and when he's throwing that, with his size, getting balls down in the zone, he was dominant tonight.”
Manager Scott Steinmann appreciated the lift Kasparek gave the entire team.
By Shannon Heaton
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