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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Painting the corners’: University Titans left-hander Tyler Boden tosses his third no-hitter of season

University senior pitcher Tyler Boden, who is headed to Community Colleges of Spokane, is 4-1 this season with three no-hitters and four complete games.  (KATHY PLONKA/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIE)

Throwing a no-hitter can be the pinnacle of a high school baseball player’s career.

One pitcher throwing two no-hitters in a season is a rarity.

But three? Over the course of one month? That’s difficult to believe.

Yet that’s exactly what University senior Tyler Boden has done.

Boden struck out 10 and walked two in his third no-hitter of the season in a 4-0 win Wednesday against Central Valley.

It was the lefty’s second consecutive no-hitter – he blanked Lewis and Clark 7-0 on April 3 with 12 strikeouts while walking two.

Boden tossed a five-inning no-hitter with six strikeouts to open the season against Chiawana on March 11 in an 11-0 win.

“He’s having an unbelievable season – something I’ve never seen in my years of coaching high school baseball,” U-Hi coach Kevin May said.

On Thursday, before the Titans’ rematch against the Bears, Boden said there hasn’t been much of a secret to what he’s doing out there: working fast and throwing strikes.

“I’m just locating everything where I want it to be,” he said. “My fastball is painting the corners. My defense is working super hard behind me – I can’t thank them enough.”

Boden’s praise for his teammates is admirable, until you realize he has recorded more than a third of his outs in the no-hitters via strikeout.

Boden is 4-1 this season with a 1.78 ERA (six earned runs in 30⅓ innings) in six games. He has 47 strikeouts and 13 walks and has allowed just seven base hits with four complete games.

“He’s got a presence about him on the mound,” May said. “We knew he was capable of everything he’s been putting together this season since the second we saw him arrive on campus.”

A four-year starter, Boden is saving his best for his senior season.

“This year is really the first year he’s been fully healthy for the entire season,” May said. “It’s a tribute to him and the work he puts in in the weight room in the offseason. He really got after it this last year and put on some muscle.”

Boden’s main pitch is an 83-85 mph two-seam fastball. His repertoire includes a slider, curveball and change-up, and he has good command of each .

“Oftentimes you get pitchers that can only command two pitches,” May said. “Tyler has great command of all four. He has confidence in all of his pitches. It’s just a tribute to the work he’s put in over the years.”

The ability to locate four pitches keeps hitters off-balance.

“You don’t know what he’s going to come after you with,” May said.

“It’s the sign of a good pitcher to be able to throw any pitch in any count. And he’s been able to do that at the high school level which has led to a lot of success.”

Boden is headed to Community Colleges of Spokane next season to pitch .

“The head coach over there (Ryne Webb) is the coach for my club team,” Boden said. “That kind of helped influence my decision to go there.”

“He wants to be a pitcher,” May said of Boden. “He wants to extend his career beyond high school, beyond (junior college). He wants to get to the Division I level. With his work ethic in the weight room and his desire to be successful and compete, I think he’s gonna get there.”

Boden has played baseball “since I can remember” and has always been a pitcher.

“I just loved having the ball,” he said. “I love being able to control the game.”

Pitchers always say that they aren’t thinking about throwing a no-hitter while they are doing it, but after you’ve thrown two in the season, thoughts have a way of creeping into your head.

“I’ll tell you what, this last game I was thinking about it a little bit,” Boden said. “But the one before that, I had no idea I threw it until I came home, and my mom told me about it.”

Will he be thinking about it next time he goes to pitch?

“Maybe a little bit,” he said. “But you know, it’s not gonna happen every time.”

There’s been at least one prior instance of a Greater Spokane League pitcher throwing three no-hitters in one season.

Eric Sandberg, who was drafted by the Minnesota Twins out of Ferris and went on to play professional baseball, accomplished the feat in 1998.

In a twist of fate, May was an American Legion ball teammate of Sandberg.

Boden has tried to keep a level head about his feat, especially considering there’s so much left in the regular season.

“I think about a little bit,” he said. “I’m still a little, you know, struck by it. It hasn’t really set in with me. But you know, it’s pretty cool. And it feels good.”

Boden’s goals for the rest of the season are modest.

“I just want to just keep throwing, going long innings in my games for my team to help us out, help us win,” he said. “And we just want to make it to the state tournament. That’s our end goal.”

“He’s a great kid to be around,” May said. “He’s likable, his teammates love him. He’s a great student. He’s kind of the symbol of what we want Titans baseball players to strive for.”