Carle Place High School pitcher Mike Delio did one of the most amazing feats in baseball Tuesday night: he struck out every batter he faced. Delio wasn’t a reliever or closer though; and he didn’t come out of the game after a few innings. He was the starter and threw the entire game.
His team won 15-0, giving an indication that the team he faced probably wasn’t the best competition. No matter who the opposition is, 21 strikeouts in a row is pretty impressive. Most of the time, a team will make contact at least once or twice and put the ball in play.
Despite the lack of a quality opponent, Delio found a way to strike out every hitter he faced. He has a fastball that tops out in the mid-80s, which probably means 83-84 mph. He also has a knuckle-curve according to reporters. I’d like to see a high school pitcher effectively throw a knuckle-curve before claiming it as “one of his pitches” versus something he happens to throw.
Striking out every batter in a baseball game is virtually unheard of, even if it is high school. If the opposing team really wanted to end the streak, they could have bunted their way on base. They could have crowded the plate and tried to get hit by a pitch. I hope they at least swung the bat and didn’t have as many called strikeouts towards the end of the game. There’s always the “reach the bat as far back as you can during the swing” maneuver and try to hit the catcher’s mitt to get an interference call.
So many things could have been done by the team to simply not strikeout, so I give credit to Delio with a grin as I do so. It doesn’t take one guy to strike out every batter in a game. It takes two defenders and nine hitters who really don’t want to be at the ball game. The most Roger Clemens ever struck out in a game was 20 out of 27. That’s a great ratio but it is at the Major League level. And it was the most, not an average.
Delio’s feat was the best possible game a pitcher can throw. The kid also hit for himself and got on base a few times. The hitting aside, I’m not surprised he finished the game either. Why waste multiple arms pitching when you only need to use one? And why take a kid out of a game when he has a no-hitter/perfect game going and hasn’t let a guy make contact? There is nothing wrong with letting Delio pitch the entire game and nothing wrong for the media attention he has received for his achievement.
No matter what Delio does the rest of the high school year, or the rest of his baseball career, he will always have the memory of the 21-strikeout perfect game. Most people have to exaggerate and elaborate on how good something was the longer after it happens. Not him. The real thing was as good as it gets.