No stranger to dominant pitching performances, Sydney native David Welch dazzled his hometown fans with the first no-hitter of the newly reborn Australia Baseball League on Thursday.
The 27-year-old left-hander walked three and struck out 10 as the Sydney Blue Sox blanked the Adelaide Bite, 8-0, in Game 1 of their best-of-3 second-round playoff series. He walked the opening batter of the first two innings and struck out the side in the third.
After committing a two-out error in the ninth, Sydney's third miscue of the game, Welch settled down to retire Pirates prospect Quincy Latimore on a flyout to left field.
"Just unbelievable -- the crowd with two outs [in the final inning]," he said after his start. "I almost had to step off the mound; I was getting goosebumps."
The lefty threw 121 pitches in the victory, 78 of them for strikes. Former Marlins farmhand Trent D'Antonio paced the Blue Sox offense, going 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs from the leadoff spot.
Welch, who two-hit the Bite on Dec. 17, led the league with a 1.44 ERA and two complete games over 11 outings during the regular season.
A 20th-round Draft pick of the Brewers in 2005, Welch left his mark on the Milwaukee organization during his rookie season when he combined with fellow Australian Simon Beresford on the first no-hitter in Helena Brewers history.
Three seasons later, on his 25th birthday, Welch hurled a seven-inning no-no for the Double-A Huntsville Stars. It was the second complete-game no-hitter in the Stars' history in the Southern League.
"I've never been in the situation where you are one pitch away and one batter away," he told MiLB.com after his gem for the Stars. "I've always been one or two innings away."
Welch went on to compile an 8-8 record with a 4.03 ERA in 24 games with Huntsville in 2009 and made four starts in the Mexican League last year.