Oneonta's David Stokes couldn't bear to watch his team take a loss after pitching five hitless innings Monday. Especially after seeing them get no-hit nine days earlier.
So he sat in the clubhouse and waited.
"It was just me not wanting to see my team get a loss on a no-hitter," said Stokes, who popped back into the dugout just time to see the Tigers erase a 1-0 deficit on Ben Guez's two-run double in the top of the seventh inning.
Stokes, Anthony Shawler and Tyler Stohr combined on a seven-inning no-hitter as Oneonta held on for a 2-1 victory over the Lowell Spinners at Edward LeLacheur Park.
"It felt good," said Stokes. "Especially because we came back and won."
Making just his third career start, Stokes allowed an unearned run, walked three and struck out a career-high seven before Shawler hurled a perfect sixth and Stohr closed out the seventh for his fourth save.
"The whole time, you're just hoping they don't get a little blooper or something," said Stokes, who was reluctant to leave the mound after reaching his pitch count. "I understood, you have to get your work in and I accomplished that."
Tri-City's Ashton Mowdy, Shane Wolf and David Miller combined to no-hit Oneonta on June 21, and Stokes hadn't forgotten that game.
"I think it was different for them. It was a nine-inning game," he recalled. "It didn't feel like a no-hitter (tonight), it wasn't a shutout. You usually have a no-hit shutout, so it didn't feel as good as I'm sure it felt for Tri-City."
The 6-foot-8 right-hander out of Liberty College worked his way into and out of trouble in the first two innings before
Jonathan Hee walked and scored on second baseman Mike Gosse's throwing error in the third. But Stokes rebounded to toss a perfect fourth and struck out two in the fifth to end his night.
"I was pumped after I came out," he said. "If we hadn't been trailing, then I would have stayed out there [in the dugout]. Of course I wanted to finish it, it's just seven innings, but it's probably a good thing I came out. But of course I was a little bummed."
The 21-year-old Locust Grove, Okla., native lowered his ERA to 0.53.
"I think the big thing was throwing all four of my pitches for strikes," Stokes said. "My curve got most of them, back door, and a few in the dirt. I had a couple of lucky ones. I threw a changeup over a guy's head and he swung, so I've got to laugh at those. But the biggest thing is throw strikes with all four pitches. "
Shawler (1-2), the Tigers' ninth-round pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft, cruised through the sixth to pick up the win. Stohr, a North Florida product making his fifth career appearance, got Darren Blocker to fly out to right field in the seventh to complete the no-hitter.
The regularly scheduled contest followed the Tigers' 14-2 loss in the completion of a suspended game.
Oneonta appeared headed for another defeat before Gosse walked to lead off the seventh. Eric Harryman reached on a sacrifice attempt and Christopher White bunted into a force play before Guez delivered his clutch double to left to give the Tigers the lead.
"When I looked out in the seventh, I was glad they were out there playing. I didn't want to lose on a no-hitter," Stokes said. "So I was pumped about that."
Detroit's 28th-round pick in this year's Draft, Stokes has allowed only one earned run in 17 innings over three starts. The 21-year-old right-hander hurled six scoreless frames against Tri-City to win his professional debut on June 20. He held Lowell to a run on six hits over six innings in his previous start on June 25.
Shawler was drafted by Washington in 2005, but opted to stay at Old Dominion, where he went 11-2 with a 2.20 ERA last year. He won five games in 2008 before debuting for Oneonta (7-7) on June 17.
"I'm glad I got drafted a little later, because now there's everything I can gain and nothing I can lose," he said. "I can just go out there and prove myself like I've done in the past. The wood bat makes a difference too. Now I can use my two-seamer more effectively and jam some bats. That was one of the biggest things."
The Tigers' no-hitter was the second in the Minor Leagues on Monday and the third in two days. Missoula's Miles Reagan, Jesse Orosco and Bryan Shaw combined to no-hit Helena in the Rookie-level Pioneer League on Monday after Major League veteran Dustin Nippert tossed a seven-inning no-no against Omaha for Triple-A Oklahoma on Sunday night.
Reliever Daniel Buller (0-1) took the loss after giving up two runs on two hits and a walk with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings.
Ryan Dent walked twice in the nightcap after drawing five free passes in the opener for the Spinners (7-7).
"I don't know what he did, it was like he had some voodoo on the ball," Stokes said of Dent. "I couldn't throw a strike to him. I don't know why. I don't know what was going on."