California's Luko throws no-hitter
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Josh Luko no-hit a depleted Carmichaels lineup as California took early control of Section 1 A with Wednesday's 14-0 five-inning victory.
The Trojans (8-0, 3-0) remain undefeated and Luko improved to 5-0. He has given up only four hits, one earned run and one walk while striking out 24 in 211⁄3 innings this season.
“Josh has come a long way since his freshman year,” California coach Nick Damico said. “He can throw pretty hard and can throw three pitches for strikes any time he wants.
“He used to have control issues early in his career, but this season he hasn't walked anybody. He's been attacking the strike zone and using his fastball really well.”
In his shortened no-hitter, the Trojan senior made quick work of the Mighty Mikes, recording 10 groundball outs and throwing fewer than 10 pitches in three of the five innings. He had his perfect game bid ruined when Carmichaels' Mike Blasinsky reached on an error in the fourth.
“Josh pitched a great game,” Carmichaels coach Scott Van Sickle said. “He moved the ball around well and he pitched to angles. He was really impressive. That's the first time I've seen him pitch and I wasn't really expecting that.”
Carmichaels (4-1, 2-1) was without its best pitcher, Brandon Lawless, who was ineligible due to a school incident. Four Mighty Mikes pitchers combined to walk 11 and hit three batters in four innings over four innings. The Trojans had just six hits.
“We knew they didn't have their ace pitcher today,” Damico said. “So I told the kids we were going to be patient and take a lot of pitches today. We wanted to work the count and make them pitch to us. I'm not sure how many walks we had, but it was a lot. We executed our game plan.”
“When you get no hits, it doesn't matter who you throw against them,” Van Sickle said. “Maybe if Lawless was here they wouldn't have scored so many runs. But we sure weren't going to score any, either.”
After Ron Baron scored on a Robbie DeFranco walk with the bases loaded in the second, California blew the game open. The Trojans sent 12 batters to the plate in the third and scored eight runs — highlighted by catcher Jake Columbus's three-run triple — and chased Carmichaels' starter Billy Bowlen and reliever Jake Kinsell. Luko helped his cause with a run-scoring single in the inning.
“I don't think we had a lot of hits, but Columbus' triple to right really opened up the game for us,” Damico said.
The Trojans scored five more runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Nathaniel Luketich and a walk, error, hit batsman and fielders' choice, all with the bases loaded.
Baron walked three times and scored three runs and Casey Zajicek went 2-2, scoring twice. Louden Conte and Robbie DeFranco both scored twice, while Mike Luketich also had a hit.
“We're going to take it one game at a time, just like we have been,” Damico said. “We know that Carmichaels is a whole different team with Lawless in there. West Greene is another talented team in the section. We just need to keep showing up to play.”
Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer.
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