6/12/2008

My first No-hitter

Last night was bliss.

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
.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good things, and luck, often happen to those who work their asses off (old Confucious saying, 3000 BC). Way to go Leon.
Ballnut

the Dutchie said...

AMAZING...
WAY to GO...
May not have been your best first few innings, but the outcome is SWEET nevertheless!!

Good luck in Regensburg