1 to 4
It was my 9th start of the year, chasing the 7-0 mark on this night, and after the first inning I did not have good stuff. Okay the first inning was fine, 3 up 3 down, 2 k's, but the second inning took 29 pitches, and was straight up ugly; this is the point when I figured, ok, let's just get through 5 innings, keep the team in the game, and see what happens from there. After that I started setteling down, found my groove a little bit, and despite a couple of walks and hit by pithes, made it through 4 innings giving up 2 runs, partially because of errors, and my own rare foolish mishap (man on 3rd 1 out, comebacker I went to first, he scored, should never happened, but I'd like to say, I played off my stupidity like a champ).
5 to 9
After the 4th, I started to pitch instead of throw. Nobody reached base from the 5th on, I believe I/my defence retired the last 16-17 batters faced.
Pre no-no realization
I looked up at the scoreboard in about the 4th, and that's when I first realized "what the hell, they don't have a hit yet?" This, one of the top hitting teams in our league, an explosive offense, and they managed their 2 runs without a hit. Then I reflected some more, and realized... huh, I guess not, weird. That's about all I wanted to think about at that point because we were down 2-1. Then I started pitching, hitting spots, my pitches seemed to start moving more then before, and I got grounder after grounder. After I threw the 7th, I found myself back checking out the scoreboard briefly as I had in the previous couple innings. Huh, still no hits. At that point, just after the 7th is when it dawned on me, I could potentially throw a no-no against these guys. At that very point, I almost got choked up a little, thinking about it. So many times I have been so close. I have thrown a bunch of one hitters in the past 5-7 years, always dreaming about the elusive no-hitter.
Then came the ninth. I wasn't as nervous as you would think, I figured, it they get a hit, they will deserve it because I am going to make all my pitches, which I did except for one. The first out was a lazy grounder to our secondbaseman Benji, I managed to jam their cleanup hitter, and national team catcher to get the first out. Next up was the ageless wonder Fausto Alvarez. A former cuban national team star, and last years league MVP was on my get-me-over-first-strike curveball and hit it hard to the outfield where our right fielder Lenny slid and made a great play to save my ass. The last out was their right fielder, I know how to get him out, and knew if I made my pitches I was golden. I'm not really sure which pitch in the at bat it was, but he rolled over on a slider, and Raily threw him out from third.
At that point, elated crazyness took over. Glove went flying, the first person I wanted to hug was my cather Martijn, he derserved half of the credit for sure. But I ran into my first baseman Jeffrey at full speed and then the whole team came out. It was something I have always dreamed of, such a perfect moment.
Post no-no realization
It took me a little bit to finally gain my bearings, and sort of come to terms with what had just happened. After a bunch of hugs, and handshakes from teammates, loyal fans and my wife, I went into the locker room to drink a couple beers and have a shower, and shoot the shit with my teammates and coaches about the game. I ended up getting a beer shower first from my short stop Jeroen and our aussie closer Roo, but it felt so good (and cold).
Today I am going to run, like prefontaine. 125 pitches is about 20 more than any game I've thrown all year, so I need to work it out of the arm by running my freaking ass off. Time to run off the ugliest, but most satisfying no-hitter ever.