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Needy, Missions earn delayed no-hitter

Hooks scorer changes sixth-inning infield single to error after game
July 31, 2014

San Antonio hitting coach Francisco Morales reached for the phone and his clubhouse fell silent.

"The call came in and we all got quiet," Missions right-hander James Needy said. "We heard our hitting coach go, well, I can't say what he said, but we all knew what happened."

What happened was this -- after consulting with first-base umpire Ramon Hernandez, Corpus Christi's official scorer Matt Young reversed a ruling on an infield single. In changing the play from a hit to an error, the scorer gave Double-A San Antonio its first no-hitter since 1984 in Wednesday's 6-0 win.

Needy (8-3) was credited with the victory behind seven no-hit frames. The San Diego native, a 2009 sixth-round pick by the Padres, struck out seven and didn't issue a walk. Left-hander Frank Garces and right-hander R.J. Alvarez closed out the game with a perfect inning each.

The no-hitter came on the same night as Mark Appel's Double-A debut for the Hooks. Houston's first-overall pick in the 2013 Draft tossed five scoreless innings for Corpus Christi, scattering two hits and four walks while striking out four.

The overturned play was initially an infield single by Rene Garcia. With one out in the sixth, the Hooks catcher hit a grounder into the hole on the left side of the infield which Missions' shortstop Diego Goris fetched and fielded cleanly. Goris' throw pulled first baseman Cody Overbeck off the bag at first, though.

At the time, Young ruled Garcia would've beaten out the throw regardless. After the game, Young convened with Hernandez to ask about that decision.

"He said if the first baseman was able to keep his foot on the bag, he would have called him out," Young said. "However, [the] first baseman's foot came off the bag, so he called him safe. [The] first-base umpire [said the] runner did not beat the throw."

Down on the field, Needy immediately suspected the call might be overturned. That was confirmed later in the game as word spread in both dugouts that the play would be reviewed and likely overturned.

"We kind of had an idea it would get looked at, just from the way the umpire called it," Needy said. "[After the call,] I was in a bit of shock.

"I think it was the last inning or something … [some Corpus Christi players] said their coaching staff said it would be looked at. … Just the way the ump called it, all of us, with our baseball knowledge, we kind of knew. He didn't beat it out."

Those suspicions didn't dull Needy's reaction when the Missions were informed of the scoring change. The no-hitter was the first for the 23-year-old as a pro, displacing a two-hit complete game he threw with Class A Fort Wayne in 2012.

"I don't think anything in my baseball career will top this," he said.

San Antonio's last previous no-hitter was thrown by Vance Lovelace, Brian Piper and Steve Martin on June 19, 1984 in a 1-0 win over Beaumont.

Jake Seiner is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner.