There was nothing Little League about what happened in Williamsport on Thursday night.
With the possible stars of tomorrow competing in the Little League World Series several miles away, Hunter Gaddis, Matt Waldron and Luis Sanchez made their own history for Class A Short Season Mahoning Valley. The trio of Indians prospects combined to toss the third Scrappers no-hitter en route to an 8-0 win over the Crosscutters at BB&T Ballpark.
Gameday box score
It was Mahoning Valley's first no-no since Sept. 1, 2013, when Luis Gomez, Carlos Melo and Kerry Doane achieved the feat against Batavia. Kelvin De La Cruz, Daniel Frega and Vinnie Pestano were the first Scrappers to notch a no-no on July 12, 2007 against Vermont.
First pitch was delayed 93 minutes by rain, but the Scrappers put up five runs in the top of the first inning. Given the early edge, Gaddis utilized 35 pitches to fan six over three perfect frames before giving way to Waldron (2-0), who struck out four and walked one in his three innings.
"Gaddis set the tone," Mahoning Valley pitching coach Jason Blanton said. "He actually told me during his pregame warmups how great he felt. He looked a lot better tonight with his movement on the mound and that goes back to his diligence and hard work. He crushes it during his in-between starts routine, and we saw the fruits of that labor out there."
Sanchez took over in the seventh and fanned four of the nine batters he faced to complete the third no-no in the New York-Penn League this season and the second in 10 days following Aberdeen's first in club history on Aug. 12 against Vermont. The 24-year-old right-hander has not allowed a hit in his last four appearances spanning 7 1/3 innings, yielding two in his last nine outings overall.
A rough start to Sanchez's season didn't worry Blanton, who figured it was a matter of time until the reliever got on a roll.
2019 Minor League milestones
"Luis was great during extended [spring training]. He was striking out something like 45 or 50 percent of the hitters," Blanton said. "He's got that swing-and-miss capability and we're seeing it now. It's not a surprise to see him doing this now. That's the guy we saw out in Arizona [during extended]."
A pitcher in the midst of throwing a no-hitter is generally left alone by teammates and coaches in the dugout. Blanton stayed true to that unwritten rule with Waldron in the sixth and then Sanchez in the ensuing innings, but for different reasons.
"Regardless of the situation, if the pitchers are throwing well, I stay out of their way," the 39-year-old said. "I'm always there if they have questions or if they come to me, but the guys were on point tonight. I could tell from the start [Gaddis] didn't need me. I just sat back, clicked the pitches and let him do his thing. It was pretty much the same way with [Waldron and Sanchez]. They didn't need me tonight."
Third baseman Joab Gonzalez made several key defensive plays for the Scrappers, including a strong throw to get a hustling Kendall Simmons for the final out of the game.
2019 MiLB include
Korey Holland paced Mahoning Valley's 13-hit attack with a 3-for-4 effort, a walk and two runs. Bryan Lavastida and Jonathan Lopez added two RBIs apiece.
Williamsport's Junior Tejada (2-1) surrendered five consecutive hits to begin the game and recorded one out. The 22-year-old entered the game with a 14-inning scoreless streak over his previous four outings. He was charged with five runs on six hits before being lifted in favor of Anton Kuznetsov.
The Crosscutters managed two baserunners in the game, both in the fifth. Scrappers first baseman Henderson De Oleo mishandled a throw for an error and Jake Holmes worked a 12-pitch walk off Waldron.
It marked the first time the Williamsport franchise had been held hitless in New York-Penn League play. The Williamsport Bills of the Double-A Eastern League were no-hit by New Britain on April 21, 1989.