21 up 21 down, Ian Graves retired all 21 Farwell batters he faced last Thursday to become the first Gladwin pitcher to throw a perfect game since at least 1980. He was so dominate that Farwell was able to get only two balls out of the infield. One was a fly out to centerfielder Lucas Mead in the first inning and the other a line drive to right fielder Hunter Williams in the third. Williams charged the ball and came up throwing to first baseman Ethan Shea to get the Farwell batter by a step at first base. The heads up plays by Williams and Shea were crucial to preserving the perfect game.
Graves helped his own cause by striking out six Farwell hitters. He had the Farwell batters behind in the count all afternoon with 16 first pitch strikes and only 11 total balls in the game. The final score of the game was 13-0, but the Flying G’s only led 8-0 going into the seventh inning. Because there was no Mercy Rule invoked the Eagles batted in the seventh inning allowing Graves to throw a complete game. Even so he only needed 53 pitches to retire the 21 Farwell hitters.
Conner Dee was busy at shortstop with five chances he also had three hits and two RBIs. Williams, Lincoln McKinnon and Randy Przyewski each had two hits. Kyle Campbell had three RBIs in the game. Shea, Blake Rutledge, and Aaron Kozlow each had two.
Baseball is one of the most tradition rich sports. It has multiple unwritten rules number one being that you don’t talk about a no-hitter in progress. Coach Troy Gary said that it was very “quiet in the dugout” when the G’s were at bat.
Shea was equally as sharp in the second game, a 15-0 win for Gladwin. He gave up only one hit, a leadoff single in the top of the fourth inning. Mead led the Flying G’s with four hits including two triples and a double while driving in two runs. Williams also had a triple. McKinnon had a pair of doubles and two RBIs in his three hits. Dee also had three hits as the Gladwin batters pummeled Farwell pitching.
Gladwin was off to an 8-1 start, which is “kind of an anomaly,” said Gary. He uses several key stats as an indicator of how well the team is playing and several of them are not being met.
“We haven’t been putting the ball in play enough. Our on base percentage and strike out to hit ratio have not been good.” One stat that has been great and helps to explain the early season success is the team’s earned run average, which sits at a microscopic 1.6. Heading into Mondays games with Ogemaw Heights four Gladwin pitchers have an ERA below 2.2. Graves, Shea, Williams and Caleb Searfoss have been getting it done on the mound for the G’s this season.