PAC's Pachucki Whiffs 17
This story appeared in the Daily News on 4/24/08. It concerns a dominant outing by Phila. Academy sr. LHP Dave Pachucki.
By TED SILARY
The nonplaying members of Philadelphia Academy Charter's baseball varsity pressed against the fence in front of their bench, eagerly expecting one last laser out of Dave Pachucki's left hand.
They got it. Just not in the direction they expected.
It's 60 feet, 6 inches from the mound to home plate. It's roughly 6 feet farther to second base, but the extra distance proved to be no problem as shortstop Taylor Vanderwoude caught Pachucki's pickoff and tagged out Anthony Traverse.
That wrapped up the memory-maker, folks.
With Pachucki, a 5-10, 185-pound senior, firing a no-hitter, PAC yesterday bested visiting Horace Furness, 7-0, in a battle of Public D unbeatens that lasted 1 hour, 46 minutes.
Pachucki struck out 17 (including the first 11 batters), walked two and allowed no balls out of the infield. In fact, the Falcons made contact only eight times, counting five foul balls (four did not leave the cage). He faced only 23 batters - well, 22 with an asterisk, including the guy at the plate when Pachucki made the pickoff.
Losing pitcher Sam Byrd popped to second baseman Trevor Newcomb to conclude the fourth. Dijon McNeill chopped to Vanderwoude to end the sixth. With Traverse (walk) on first and one out in the seventh, Byrd hit a bouncer to Newcomb that might have resulted in a doubleplay. Newcomb bobbled, then Pachucki fanned Ryan Gonzalez for out No. 2.
Pachucki insisted that his palms remained dry, and that a check of his pulse rate would have yielded no abnormalities.
"I was calm," he said. "Just wanted to finish things."
Look, whirl, fire, catch, tag. Time for celebration, though nothing too outrageous. Counting high school (four) and Legion ball in Lower Southampton (three), the no-no was Pachucki's seventh in roughly 1 calendar year.
"It's just a matter of throwing what coach [Jack] Smith wants, then hitting the glove where my catcher [Bobby Ropars] puts it," he said, simply. "With two strikes, hopefully you get them to chase.
"My arm felt great during long-toss, which I did longer than I usually do. I had a day off from school and practice [Tuesday], and sometimes that can hurt your flow."
Pachucki, headed for Eastern University to major in business administration, didn't mind not posting one last blow-away.
"It was good that way, actually," he said. "I almost had a pickoff [of Gonzalez] in the fifth, but he got to second [and then was thrown out trying to steal third],
so it felt fine to finish it this way. Keep things interesting, right?
"I saw he had a big lead. My first instinct was to step off and make him go back. But he was too far off. Had to go for him."
The day was emotional for Furness, which had only 10 players in uniform because of injuries, poor grades, shaky behavior, etc. Tony Brown, Byrd's brother, died recently and every Falcon wore a black T-shirt with a white No. 21 (Tony's number in assorted basketball-baseball rec leagues) over the heart.
Byrd allowed three hits and two runs through five frames, but was touched for five runs in the sixth. The back-breaker was Tony Summers' two-out, three-run triple.
Although PAC is respectable, D is the Pub's bottom division, qualitywise, and just twice this season have the Chargers been forced to play seven innings. Pachucki's earlier gem this season was a five-inning perfecto with 14 whiffs.
"As it's going along, you just try to keep your head clean and hope everybody makes the plays," he said. "Only twice did I have regrets [after throwing a pitch]. But they didn't get hits on them, so it was cool."
As the sixth was about to start, base ump Jerry Kleger said to first baseman Tyler Pruitt, "Not too much to do out here, is there?"
Pruitt replied, "There never is, when he's pitching."