Anthony Kay will look back on this performance and forever relish the accomplishment. He will also look at the final pitch, analyze it over and over, and remember how difficult it was to put the finishing touch on his first career no-hitter.
The lefthanded Kay got Tyler Conlon to line hard to centerfield on a 2-2 fastball for the final out of a six-strikeout, six-walk, no-hitter as Ward Melville beat Patchogue-Medford, 9-0, in a Suffolk League I baseball game.
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Kay, who finished with a 0.00 ERA to earn the Gibson Award given to Suffolk's top pitcher last season, picked up where he left off -- completely dominant. The 23 major-league scouts in attendance crammed behind the Ward Melville backstop to clock his fastball at 91 miles per hour and get a view of his tantalizing 78 mph changeup.
"I thought he drove that last pitch over our centerfielder's head," Kay said. "I was like, 'Oh no,' but it stayed down and he [Billy Theiss] made the catch. It was a great feeling."
The UConn-bound Kay was mobbed on the hill. The senior threw three one-hitters last season and this one was special. According to Patriots assistant coach Ron Muscarella, the only other no-hitter in Ward Melville school history was by Kevin Cook on April 22, 1991, in a win over Patchogue-Medford.
"He didn't have his usual command but they may have been nerves with all the scout and media attention," Ward Melville coach Lou Petrucci said. "But he made pitches when he needed to. His changeup was unhittable."
Kay needed 93 pitches and never allowed a runner to reach third base. He also retired 12 of the last 13 hitters.
The expectations of a pitching duel against South Carolina-bound Matt Vogel, another one of Long Island's top pro prospects never materialized. Ward Melville (1-1) jumped all over Vogel and batted around for five runs in the first inning, keyed by a Kyle Pedroli two-run double.
"I couldn't be happier for Anthony," said Vogel, who was disappointed but upbeat. "I struggled in the early innings and they capitalized. But it's a long season and we have to put this behind us."
Vogel settled down in the third and fourth, striking out four in a row at one point and retiring nine of the last 11 batters he faced. MLB scouts clocked him at 94 miles per hour. "This is really his first time out," Patchogue-Medford coach Anthony Frascogna said. "We're young, but we'll be fine."
Kay wasn't the only one who left the field Wednesday with an unforgettable performance. Ward Melville leadoff man Ryan Shields went 3-for-3, including two doubles and a walk. "He is the catalyst for this team," Petrucci said. "He turned on some good fastballs."
Added Shields, "It's pretty special when you get a few hits off a great pitcher like Matt Vogel -- definitely something to remember."