June 3, 2013
By Anonymous

Hi, my name is Nikolas, and I am from a small town just outside of Albany, New York. I play Section II high school baseball, and I have been on the freshman baseball team as an eighth grader and now this year, as a ninth grader. Let's start off with this, I never pitched in my life before I was 11 years old. I was tired of sitting the bench for my summer All-star team. My dad played baseball in an over forties league and he met up with a guy named Steve. This guy played AAA minor league and then was brought up to the major leagues as a pitcher. Once he was up there, his pitching coach taught him everything he knew about pitching. He later found out hat the same guy who had taught him to pitch was in fact, Nolan Ryan's pitching coach. Back to my dad now. He knew this guy was good because he had told him that exact story, except the part about the pitching coach. Later after my season had ended, he took me to one of their games and after the game, well, he turned my life of baseball around.

I threw exactly one pitch, and he saw everything that he needed to see. He pointed out three things that I was not doing, and we maybe talked about it for five minutes, and it actually made sense to me. For the first time something actually made sense about throwing a pitch. The next pitch I threw, right down the middle. Shortly after that, my fall season was starting up and I knew that it would be a great opportunity for me to try it. The first game I went out there and killed it, giving up no runs in three inning of work. I knew this was going to work. The very next year, in 2011, our team made it to the finals in the Mid-Atlantic Tournament. If we won this game, we would go to the Cal Ripken Complex in Aberdeen, Maryland. Who but me to start that game. I will admit, I was scared, nervous, and a little excited to start the game. The first pitch, strike one. All the way to the fifth inning I pitched. I also hit a three run homerun in the first inning in front of a thousand people watching. However, pitching was my main priority. The books closed on me as I finished the fifth inning allowing three runs on five hits. I did my part because we had the lead 5-3 going into the top of the sixth. The final inning was left up to my friend. Which he shut the doors on the team and we were going to the world series.

The next year, I just heard about the high school program for baseball at my school and I thought it would be cool to try out. I went out for pitching and made the team, not something I was expecting. I had to work extremely hard to work myself into the rotation. But I did, being the third starter and finishing that season with a 2-1 win/loss record and a 1.78 era. I thought that was really good for an eighth grader. After school ball finished, my summer team started right up. We made it to the State finals, and if we won that, we would back to Regionals. I was given the ball for that game. Skip ahead to the seventh inning. I had two outs 2-2 count on the batter and I thought, one more pitch and I would have a no-hitter. I threw the pitch, and basehit to right field, there it went, just showing how hard it is to throw a no-hitter. However, we did win the game and headed to regionals only to lose in the semi final round.

This year, 2013, I went out for the team again and made it. Back in school ball after a hard winter of workouts felt really good. Keep this in mind, I worked with Steve again over the winter and we talked about the could-have-been-no-hitter, and this is what he said, “every pitcher will get his no hitter, but the next time you have two outs in the seventh, take a breather and walk around the mound. It will help you relax.” I took that advice smartly into my 5th start of the year, I was 4-0 with a low e.r.a. I had taken two games into the fifth and sixth with no hitters just to lose them. However, today was different in may ways. We usually play on the freshman field, which is total crap, and I was not even supposed to start. However, we played on the varsity field and I started. I was warming up and I knew that it was not my best stuff, but I had velocity. What made this day better was that the Varsity head coach and Pitching coach were on the sidelines watching. The first pitch was a strike. I knew this was going to be a good day. Skip ahead to the third inning. I just walked and I was on first base when a kid I knew from summer ball said to me, “Hey nice pitching, you at least got the no hitter goin'.” I didn't respond because when you have something going like that, you don't want to say anything to break the superstitious streak. The next inning I stuck out a kid but my catcher dropped the ball and the kid made it to first. I did not think too much of it during the game because I still had not given up a hit. The fifth inning I threw a one, two, three inning and still had it going. At that time we were up 6-0. Then the sixth inning came. For some reason, I felt like that was the inning that I needed to get through. I do not know why I felt like this was the main inning. Fortunately, I got through it without losing the no-hitter. Then came the seventh. I do not know why I was so nervous, I had been in this situation before. I threw to the first kid. On the 3rd pitch, he grounded towards the whole between third and short, however, my third basemen got to it and made the play. One out. The next kid, first pitch, same spot as the first and now twice in a row, my third baseman, almost diving both times, saved me. Two outs. Then the next kid. Strike one! Two to go. Strike two! One to go. This is where I remembered Steve's saying and I walked around the mound, took a deep breath, then I stepped on the rubber. Two balls in a row. The count now at 2-2, I took another trip around the mound. I knew everyone there was feeling the tension including me. Next pitch, ground ball back to me, one step, throw to first, and there it was! A no-hitter! No, my no-hitter. I had finally received my own no-hitter. 5/10/13. The date I will remember for the rest of my life. After the game I received congrats from everyone, and I thanked my third basemen. He was a faster, leaner kid than the one that started the game. In my mind, I do not think that the one who started would have made those plays. That is what made the difference for it to have occurred. My stats on the day were no runs, no hits, one runner on base (passed ball by the catcher or else I would have had a perfect game) and a total of 66 pitches. What a day, what a season what a memory. I am so glad to say that this is, and always will be, the story of my No-Hitter.

The author's comments:
This was one of the best days of my life

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