Nick Fanti of Hauppauge had a professional pitching debut to remember.
The 6-2 lefthander, assigned to the Gulf Coast League Phillies after being taken in the 31st round, was called on in relief Thursday against the GCL Astros and responded with a near-perfect eighth inning -- and a professional victory.
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"I've never been so nervous in my entire life," said Fanti, 18, who threw back-to-back no-hitters for Hauppauge and won Newsday's Yastrzemski Award given to Suffolk County's top player.DataLI baseball stars drafted by MLB teams all-time
"It was worse than giving a speech on the night of the Yastrzemski Award," Fanti said. "But I calmed down enough to focus and throw strikes. It was so incredibly cool to be living in the moment and just doing what I love to do."
Fanti, wearing No. 64, struck out the first batter he faced with a nasty changeup. His fastball was clocked between 88 and 91 miles per hour.
He allowed an infield single and struck out the side, including the Astros' first-round draft choice, Kyle Tucker. The Phillies, trailing 3-2 at the time, scored twice in the bottom of the inning for the 4-3 comeback win to make Fanti the winning pitcher.
And that was a great relief to the nervous reliever.
"I was thinking about it too much and it was overwhelming at first," he said. "I just graduated high school a month ago and here I am in the working world and my job is to pitch. That's all I can ask for."
He added: "I knew the first time out, there would be all sorts of adrenaline and emotion. But I've been ready for this. Now it's about working extremely hard and learning and improving. It's my job, man."