Freshman Jessie Smith made SC4 baseball history when he pitched a no-hitter against Concordia University on March 24.
Smith struck out four while walking two, one of them being the lead-off hitter. He quickly cleared the bases with a pickoff move from the mound to catch the runner.
“I felt very comfortable on the mound during the game,” Smith said. “The only reason for that was because I knew that I had a great defense behind me, and they put that on display throughout the game.”
The Skipper defense seemed to be seamless throughout the game, not allowing anything past them.
“[Smith] kept his pitch count down and was helped by an excellent defensive play by shortstop James MacMillan,” said head coach Denny Dwyer. “Jesse was in control the whole way with some excellent defense behind him.”
The Skipper ace also had help from the SC4 bats. Freshman shortstop James MacMillan went 1-3 with a homerun, sophomore Patrick Pierce hit a two RBI double and freshman Devon Wiegers supplied three hits for the Skippers.
The routine of striking out batters and forcing fly ball outs and ground balls is completely different than Smith’s pregame ritual.
“The first thing I do is run one lap of the outfield fence while listening to specific music,” said Smith. “Next I go back to the dugout to change into my cleats and get my game ball.
“After I get the game ball, I take it over to the field dirt and ‘doctor it up.’ Once I finish throwing, I go back to the dugout just before game time. At that point I have a certain order in which every single person on the team must touch the baseball.”
Whether it is a superstition or if there really are “angels in the outfield,” Smith’s routine keeps him at ease on the mound. And it has been with him since his first start as a freshman in high school.
“One of the other pitchers, who was older than me, stood with me while I was throwing,” said Smith. “When I was done he grabbed the ball from me and rubbed it.
“He said it was for good luck. Once one of the other guys saw him doing it, he wanted to do the same exact thing. After that I gave the ball to every single guy on the team and coaches. It got to the point my senior year that everyone on the team had their own ritual with the game ball.”
Between the offense, defense and pregame routine, Smith pulled off a no-hitter to open the season at Sanborn Park.