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Chiefs' no-hitter is a team effort

Russell, Siegfried, Maradeo, Ceda combine to blank Snappers
August 26, 2007
James Russell, Chris Siegfried, Matt Maradeo and Jose Ceda combined on the first no-hitter in O'Brien Field history Saturday as the Peoria Chiefs blanked the Beloit Snappers, 6-0.

Making his second professional start and first for Peoria, Russell struck out four and walked one in three innings. The left-handed son of two-time Major League All-Star Jeff Russell was the Cubs' 14th-round draft pick in June and tossed two scoreless frames in one Arizona League start.

"This is awesome, words can't describe it," Russell said. "I've never been a part of a no-hitter before, so it's awesome, something I'll remember forever."

It's been a hectic week for Russell, who learned Wednesday that he'd be on the next flight to Peoria. The University of Texas product was excited for the opportunity.

"I found out maybe three days ago that I was getting moved up. it was awesome, I was happy," he said. "My flight was at 6:30 in the morning, I had to wake up at 4:15 in the morning, so I didn't get a whole bunch of sleep. But I was fired up."

Nine innings later, he was still smiling. Russell raced back to his hotel room and called his dad with the big news.

"I told him, he had no clue," he said of his father, who spent 14 seasons in the big leagues with Texas, Cincinnati, Boston, Oakland and Cleveland. "He was excited, he knew how I did tonight, but I called him when I got up to the hotel and told him we threw a no-hitter, so he was pumped."

Russell walked the first batter he faced and admitted he was nervous, pitching in front of 5,895 fans in his Midwest League debut.

"I was pretty nervous, my first couple hitters I was wild," he said. "It just took a little while to calm down. I had a lot of adrenaline going. I'm happy I got moved up here, this place is awesome."

Siegfried (2-0), an 11th-round pick in June, said he could feel the tension growing in the dugout as the no-hitter progressed.

"Everyone started to realize what was happening," he said. "The fans knew it. You could feel the adrenaline in the dugout. We were hoping to get it."

Ceda struck out Garrett Olson on a fastball to end the game and finish off the sixth no-hitter in Chiefs' history.

The 20-year-old right-hander, who has not allowed a hit in 19 innings over 13 appearances since July 17, fanned four, walked one and hit a batter over two innings before he was mobbed by his teammates on the mound.

"Ceda has been throwing really well," said Siegfried. "It was really fun to be behind him out there. Everyone seemed to be on top of their game. Russell being the new guy, he threw well, was able to throw strikes."

Saturday's gem came exactly 21 years after the first no-hitter in team history. Len Damian and DeWayne Coleman combined to whitewash Springfield on Aug. 25, 1986.

It was the first no-hitter in the five-year history of O'Brien Field and the Chiefs' first since Sean Gallagher, Walt Nolen and Jon Hunton combined for a 10-inning gem against Cedar Rapids on April 20, 2005.

Siegfried, who appeared in 14 games for Rookie League Boise this season, said the plan on the mound was simple for everyone.

"We were just working to pound the strike zone and get outs," said Siegfried, who induced six groundouts and one popout. "The goal of pitching is to get ground balls, get the ball in play, not strike people out."

Maradeo fanned three and walked one in 1 2/3 innings. He relieved Siegfried with two runners on in the sixth and hit Wilson Ramos to load the bases before striking out Chris Parmelee.

The Chiefs (34-27) allowed 10 base runners on six walks, three hit batters and an error. They also turned three double plays.

"It was really nice to see them work, get those double plays," Siegfried said of his infielders. "Whatever you can do to get a no-hitter, we'll take it."

Siegfried said the no-hitter was not on his mind when he took the mound to start the fourth.

"Definitely not, my mind-set was work, get outs and get our hitters back up at the plate," he said. "My mind-set was definitely not a no-hitter."

The win pulled Peoria within one game of Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League wild card race. The Chiefs are 3 1/2 games behind first-place Quad Cities in the Western Division with nine to play.

"This win today and yesterday were good. We realize this is a tough schedule ahead of us," said Siegfried. "We're going out every day, trying to get some wins and get to the playoffs."

The Chiefs were on the losing end of a no-hitter last Aug. 18, 2006, in West Michigan.

Snappers starter Brian Kirwan (2-7) was reached for five runs -- one earned -- on nine hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out five for Beloit (30-29).

Marquez Smith gave the Chiefs the lead in the third with an RBI single to left field. Russ Canzler lifted a sacrifice fly and Wellington Castillo followed with a two-run homer to make it 4-0. Canzler added an RBI single in the fifth and James Adduci capped the night with a run-scoring double in the seventh.

Danny Wild is a contributor to