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Graham's Knoche no-hits Bowser in Daily News League

| Friday, May 27, 2011

It`s a good thing for Bowser that Graham`s Service has qualified for the Daily News League postseason only once during its six-year championship reign.

For whatever reason, the champs don`t like playing against the men in green and yellow.

Scott Knoche only added to Bowser`s frustration. The pitcher stunned the DNL world by firing a no-hitter as Graham`s easily defeated Bowser, 4-1, at Wylie Field Thursday.

'Everything was working tonight,' said Knoche, who added to his evening by belting a two-run homer.

'It`s a big deal to do it against that team and that lineup.'

Bowser has struggled against the A`s over the years, particularly at Wylie Field. The overflow crowd in Elizabeth saw the Twins fall for the third straight time at that field. Bowser has dropped five of its past six games at Wylie Field.

'I have absolutely no explanation for why we don`t win here,' Bowser manager Andy Brettschneider said. 'I don`t know what to say. We just played a bad baseball game tonight.'

In the past, the Twins haven`t been so kind to Graham`s following setbacks. This night was different.

Knoche became only the second pitcher to throw a no-hitter against Bowser during the past six seasons. The other pitcher to throw a no-no against the Twins was Mulligan`s Chris Douglas in 2009.

'I was effectively wild tonight,' Knoche said. 'And obviously my defense was great behind me. It was just a great night.'

Knoche was at his best in the fifth inning. At this point, the A`s had already taken a 4-1 advantage. However, a classic Bowser rally seemed likely.

Ryan Moore led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second when Brian Grise drew a walk.

With runners at first and second and no outs, Knoche was set to face Jim Onder and then Dalaine Ofchinick, the DNL`s two best players over the past decade.

Knoche struck both of them out.

'I don`t remember that ever happening in a situation like that,' Brettschneider said. 'I don`t ever remember them striking out back-to-back. I couldn`t believe it. But it happens. What are you going to do?'

With two outs, Knoche then forced slugger Jared Frye into a routine ground ball to second, preserving the no-hitter.

Some of Bowser`s players complained about home plate umpire Mark Grant`s strike zone.

'But it wasn`t that big,' Ofchinick said. 'The guy pitched a heck of a game. You have to give him credit.'

Making the night even better for the A`s was that manager Terry Graham was in uniform. Graham underwent significant health problems in the off-season but has attended both A`s games this season.

'The whole night was just great,' Knoche said.

Knoche walked seven batters and hit one, but Bowser hitters never looked comfortable against him.

'You just have to take your hat off to the guy,' Brettschneider said.

Mark Breisinger was the tough-luck loser for the Twins. An inning-eater during the early stages of the season, Breisinger pitched six effective innings.

Brettschneider was pleased with his starter`s performance.

'If you told me he`d give me a complete game and only give up four runs I would have been pleased,' he said. 'I`ll take that every time. He was very good.'

The Twins will look to rebound against Klingensmith Insurance next Tuesday at Helen Richey Field.

'I`m very disappointed,' Brettschneider said. 'I hate losing, and that first loss of the season always hurts. But this isn`t the end of the world.'

NOTES — Brettschneider made the unusual move of hitting Grise in the leadoff spot. Ofchinick always leads off for the Twins, but Brettschneider`s thinking paid off. Brettschneider said that Graham`s was likely to hit Grise with a pitch at some point, since he defected from that squad last winter, so that leading him off made sense because he`d be on base. Indeed, Knoche hit Grise in the third inning ... Bowser outfielder Kyle Lucot wasn`t available because of illness...DNL commissioner Nick Donato attended the game.

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