A no-hitter any time of the season is a fulfilling achievement. But tossing a perfect game in the first game of the season is particularly noteworthy.
Matthew Burley led Liberty on the hill and at the plate in a 10-0 win in the early game of a doubleheader sweep over visiting Davenport on Tuesday.
Burley’s six-inning perfect game came with 16 strikeouts, and he added two triples with five RBIs as the Lancers downed the Gorillas.
In the second game, Burley collected three hits with an RBI and scored three times in a 13-3 win.
It was the first no-hitter of any kind he’s thrown.
Burley said since it was the first game of the season he hadn’t set much of a routine yet but tried to use his mix of fastball, curve and changeup to keep the hitters off-balance.
“I had a good idea of what I wanted to do,” he said. “Throw strikes, pound the zone, keep it down and work quick.”
Burley, a first-team all-league selection in the Northeast 2B last season, said he throws his fastball in the low 80s, so without overpowering stuff he tries to concentrate on throwing first-pitch strikes and let the batters get themselves out.
He said he realized he was perfect in the “third or fourth inning,” and admitted to being nervous as the game went on.
“I was shaking pretty bad out there,” he said.
Usually when a pitcher is throwing a perfect game or no-hitter, teammates won’t talk about it in the dugout to avoid putting on a “jinx.”
Burley joked that his mates didn’t adhere to the axiom, adding to his anxiety.
With one out in the last inning, he fell behind a hitter 3-1, but neither his catcher, nor coach, came out to calm him down.
“They let me battle through it,” Burley said. He came back to pick up another strikeout and cement the memorable performance.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.