Casey just perfect in South Bend's no-hitter

Righty goes seven frames, Remy seals club's second milestone

Derek Casey, a 2018 ninth-round pick, threw 55 of his 76 pitches for strikes. (Casey McDonald/South Bend Cubs)

By Joe Bloss / MiLB.com | May 7, 2019 12:52 AM

Peyton Remy had plans Monday. Well, his coaches had plans for him. The right-hander was slated to throw in long relief for Class A South Bend. Maybe enter somewhere in the fifth or sixth inning and finish the game.

But Derek Casey "ruined" everything and now Remy will "remember it forever." He'll flash back on their embrace after the game. And the water cooler bath that rained down on them and interrupted an interview. And how his adrenaline still pumped hours after recording the final out of Class A South Bend's no-hitter.

Remy didn't enter until the eighth inning, because Casey just didn't need to be replaced. The right-handed Cubs prospect tossed seven perfect innings to pace the 2-0 win over visiting Cedar Rapids.

Video: South Bend fires the no-hitter

"To have a perfect game, you have to be so lucky," Casey said. "You can make perfect pitches and guys are going to get hits, that's just how the game of baseball is."

That is not how it was Monday. The Virginia product recorded the first two outs on five pitches and then worked past three straight balls to whiff Chris Williams. Another payoff pitch beat Andrew Bechtold to close the second in similar fashion. Casey only needed eight pitches in the third and punched out two more Cedar Rapids batters in the fourth.

Hours earlier, the right-hander walked into the home clubhouse and the "new guy" had already arrived. They had never played together or even met. But Victor Caratini was going to be catching him, and after a brief introduction, the battery got to work.


Gameday box score


The Major Leaguer was on the first day of his rehab assignment after surgery last month on a fractured left hamate bone. Casey, two weeks removed from allowing nine hits in back-to-back starts, said Caratini called a great game and moved the target around the zone a bunch. A perfect match. Literally.

"He just felt like another guy on the team," Casey said.

Rafelin Lorenzo replaced Caratini in the fifth, but nothing changed for Casey. The 2018 ninth-round pick used his defense for all three outs in the fifth. He threw only two balls in the sixth -- working with a lead after Tyler Durna's two-run homer -- and his final perfect frame lasted six pitches.

Video: South Bend's Casey completes seven no-hit frames

Casey fanned six while throwing 55 of his 76 pitches for strikes. He won the battle in three full counts.

"I just think my first couple starts here in South Bend, I was not being as aggressive as I needed to be," said the native of Mechanicsville, Virginia. "And just getting a feel for my secondary pitches. So when I've been able to throw those secondary pitches in fastball predictable counts, it's made a big difference for me and I've had a lot of success doing it. If I can keep working on those things and just being aggressive, getting ahead in counts and throwing strikes. It should hopefully keep going up from here."

Remy entered in the eighth. This was new territory for him, the 2017 17th-round pick previously had only been on the receiving end of special starts such as these.

2019 Minor League milestones

He wasn't really mulling over what a mistake could mean. The 23-year-old said he wanted to take it one pitch, one out, at a time. The Kernels broke up perfection right away when Gilberto Celestino reached on shortstop Andy Weber's throwing error in the first at-bat of the eighth. Remy promptly picked him off at first. After Ben Rodriguez struck out, Bechtold walked, and the Colorado native got David Banuelos to fly out.

He knew Cedar Rapids might consider a bunt to steal a hit. So Remy pounded the zone, and struck out Yeltsin Encarnacion and Hunter Lee in the ninth. Third baseman Christopher Morel's throwing error after a diving stop put Gabriel Maciel on first. But the righty got Jacob Pearson to pop out to Morel on the first pitch to seal the no-hitter, the eighth in South Bend history, and the second since becoming a Cubs affiliate in 2015.

A horn boomed through night. Fireworks lit the dark sky. Teammates spilled out of the dugout to embrace Remy. But he knew Casey deserved to be celebrated too.

"He pitched his butt off," Remy said. "I'm just glad I was able to keep it where it was. The perfect game would have been really special, but in my mind this is just as special. I've never been a part of anything like this, so it was a good day."

Joe Bloss is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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