Schepel tosses Hops' first no-hitter
Even after Kyle Schepel gave up a single in the third inning, he had a hunch he might end up with a no-hitter on Saturday night.
He was right.
Schepel, who tossed a no-hitter in his second start of the year, repeated the feat in his final outing as short-season Hillsboro posted a 5-0 victory at Boise.
That third-inning single was changed to an error in the eighth inning, putting the D-backs prospect on the path to the first no-hitter in the Hops' brief history. He issued one walk and struck out eight.
Schepel improved to 7-8 with a 5.40 ERA across three levels. With the rotation at Class A South Bend getting crowded by an influx of 2013 Draft picks, he joined Hillsboro earlier this month.
"I go where ever they tell me," Schepel said, "and I'm getting a good amount of innings and learning a lot here."
The 23-year-old right-hander didn't think he was destined to have a noteworthy evening.
"When I was warming up before the game, I wasn't really feeling that well, and then I wasn't locating that great," he said. "The first or second pitch of the game got hit pretty hard, out to deep to center field."
Nonetheless, Schepel retired the first six Hawks before Danny Lockhart knocked a hard ground ball to second baseman Josh Parr, who fumbled it. Parr approached Schepel after the play.
"He came up to me right after," Schepel said. "He's one of the nicest kids you'll meet. He said, 'Hey, my bad.'"
The Grand Valley State product set down the next six hitters, gave up a leadoff walk in the fifth, then got 15 consecutive outs.
"After I got going and sort of found my pitches, I started to feel more locked in," he said. "Later in the game, I threw well."
Although there was a hit on the scoreboard, he said it still felt like a no-hitter in progress.
"Everyone knew it was a sketchy play and they might overturn it."
Then Schepel saw the scoreboard change with one out in the eighth.
"I was looking up there for something and I saw they were changing it," he said. "I figured they might switch it. I kind of thought it was an error. I mean, it was a tough play, but we all kind of thought it was an error."
He struck out two batters in the ninth, including Carlos Penalver to end the game.
"The one I threw in South Bend ended on a groundout, so that was pretty cool," Schepel said. "That whole last inning, I was just making them really earn it. I wasn't giving them anything to hit. The pitch he struck out on wasn't perfect, but it was good enough, obviously."
Brian Billigen hit an RBI double and Randy McCurry had a run-scoring single for the Hops, who relocated from Yakima following last season.
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com.