It took four pitchers, but Class A Short Season Tri-City accomplished something on Saturday that no Northwest League team had done in four years.
Padres prospects Jason Blanchard, Ramon Perez, Dominic DiSabatino and Deacon Medders combined on a no-hitter as the Dust Devils blanked Everett, 5-0, at Gesa Stadium.
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Blanchard, a ninth-round pick in this month's Draft, threw the first two innings and allowed just a one-out walk to Dean Nevarez in the second. Perez, a 19-year-old left-hander, was perfect for four frames, aside from a leadoff free pass to Luis Joseph, who was immediately erased on a double play. It was the first of five walks the Dust Devils issued up over the final four innings.
It was at that point that Tri-City pitching coach Leo Rosales realized his staff had yet to allow a hit.
"I just happened to look up to see how many innings we had to cover and looking at our staff and who we have available," Rosales said. "And the next thing you know, I see a bunch of zeros and I was like, 'Oh, man, this is happening.'"
DiSabatino, a 23-year-old righty, walked Patrick Frick to open the AquaSox's seventh but induced a double play off the bat of Trent Tingelstad two pitches later. With two outs, Robert Perez hit DiSabatino's seventh pitch sharply up the line to third baseman Kelvin Melean, who made a diving stop and fired to first for the out on a bang-bang play.
2019 Minor League milestones
"Melean's a really good player with good reactions over there, has a very good feel for the game," Rosales said. "That ball was hit pretty well and he just moved over to his left, very athletic, got up and threw it across the diamond."
Deacon Medders, the Padres' 20th-round pick this month, allowed consecutive two-out walks in the eighth and another free pass with two outs in the ninth. But Rosales never left the dugout. In fact, he made no mound visits all night.
"Sometimes he gets in trouble working a little bit quick," the former Major Leaguer said of Medders, "but I have confidence in this kid."
On a 1-0 pitch, Medders got Perez to hit into a fielder's choice to set off a celebration.
"[Mike] McCoy, the manager, lets out a big 'Yeah!' and everybody turns around and I'm sitting there in my chair thinking, 'Wow, this actually happened,'" Rosales said with a laugh. "It was fun to watch, especially for the guys. And most importantly that we won and we're back on track."
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Rosales made sure to give a lot of credit to Dust Devils catcher Jonny Homza.
"Jonny had a big part in this game, too," he said. "I'm very proud of him. He's come a long way. They stuck to a plan and attacked these hitters."
It was the league's first no-no since Eugene pitched one against Everett on Aug. 15, 2015 and Tri-City's first since Sam Moll, Shane Broyles, Jerad McCrummen and Trent Daniel combined for a 3-0 win over Salem-Keizer on July 20, 2013.
"It's just a nice moment to be part of as a pitching coach," Rosales said. "These kids have been working on what we teach here with San Diego and they're doing a good job. And tonight, it showed."