Saturday was just another day at the office for Class A Advanced Jupiter pitchers Jorgan Cavanerio, Raudel Lazo, Drew Steckenrider and Jose Adames. But when each of them finished what they set out to do, together they accomplished something special -- and historical.
"I think everybody was just going about their business," Hammerheads pitching coach Jeremy Powell said. "They understand what level they are at and they understand that it's about development, so there was not a lot said about it. They all knew what was going on, but they were all just trying to get their work in and do it the right way. It worked out well for them."
Miami right-hander Cavanerio struck out three, hit two and walked two over six innings and Lazo, Steckenrider and Adames each twirled a frame to complete a no-hitter in Jupiter's 6-0 win over Palm Beach at Roger Dean Stadium. The feat was the Hammerheads' first since July 22, 2013.
"They are fired up," Powell said. "It's a team effort with four guys completing it. I think everybody kind of knew what was going on and they just had to go to work every inning and it worked out. We kept [the Cardinals] without a hit, it was fun to watch."
It may not have seemed like something special was brewing from the beginning, though. Cavanerio hit Cardinals' No. 3 batter Danny Diekroeger with a first pitch before walking the next batter, Casey Grayson. A groundout got the 21-year-old out of the inning and he cruised afterward.
"It's nice to see him compete with his fastball in the zone for six innings," Powell said on Cavanerio. "This kid has got a really good changeup, and the game plan going in was use your fastball until they prove you otherwise. He used it and stuck with it for six innings.
"It's a big development day for him to be able to prove himself he can do that. He was able to move it in and out, the ability to pitch in and keep hitters uncomfortable is really what made it happen."
Cavanerio exited the game just 70 pitches, but the team wasn't concerned about handing things over to the bullpen.
"We knew going in that Cavanerio's time was about up with it being this early in the year," Powell said. "But you could sense it. They understood what was going on. It's more about the bigger picture for the kids and looking down the road."
Left-hander Lazo, who pitched 5 2/3 innings last season with the Marlins in the Majors, struck out two in the seventh. Right-hander Steckenrider fanned two in the eighth and righty Adames worked around a leadoff walk to seal the quartet's place in history.
"Lazo has been at the upper levels. He's gotten a little big league time, so he kinda knows what he needs to do and he got out of his [inning] quick," Powell said. "Steckenrider was just aggressive with his fastball and got right by those guys. They all did a good job of just getting ahead of guys, and when you pitch ahead, you keep hitters on the defensive and can get some easy outs."
The three relievers needed only 35 pitches to get through the final three innings, and Powell thinks the pace may have even relieved some of their stress of keeping the no-hitter intact.
"I'm sure they thought about it," he said. "It does add a little bit of pressure, but we try to make them professionals and all three guys handled it well. There's no doubt they probably thought about it, but when you're going in there one inning at a pop and then get out of them quickly like that, you really didn't have the time to have the pressure build up."
Powell also credited catcher Chris Hoo for navigating all four hurlers through the Palm Beach lineup.
"He was outstanding for nine innings behind the plate," the pitching coach said. "I don't think it happens without his awareness and his ability to get the strength out of the kids and prevent [the Cardinals] from getting hits."
While Powell got to witness the second no-hitter of his coaching career -- the previous one was a combined perfect game in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League a few years back -- he was more thrilled with the progress he's seen in the players.
"At the lower levels here, we are all about development and trying to get these guys ready for the next level," Powell said. "We develop them to not just be good in A-ball, we want them to be Major Leaguers. From my standpoint, to see our starter go out and approach the game the way he did with his fastball -- trust it, command it, compete with it in the zone -- that to me is the most important thing for tonight.
"We try to pound on the development side of it here and tell them that the results will take care of itself, but if we can get these guys better on a daily basis, that's what it's really all about."
Yuniel Ramirez contributed two hits and two RBIs to pace the Jupiter offense.