TAMPA, Fla. — Dellin Betances has had more than a few memorable moments during his four-plus seasons with the Yankees. In his first full season, 2014, he was named to the All-Star team and also surpassed Mariano Rivera’s Yankees team record for strikeouts by a relief pitcher. He finished with a 5–0 record and a 1.40 ERA.
He followed by being named an All-Star the next three seasons, and on Aug. 2 against the Tigers last season, he pitched an “immaculate inning,’’ striking out the side in the eighth on the minimum nine pitches.
But when asked about one game in his career that he will never forget, the reliever picked a 20-strikeout, seven-inning performance when he was a senior at Brooklyn’s Grand Street Campus High School.
His recollections of that game:
“We were playing John Adams and I think I had a perfect game maybe into the fifth. They made an error and I lost my perfect game and I had a no-hitter till the seventh. I gave up a hit, but I struck out 20 guys in seven innings. That’s probably my No. 1.
“Back then I threw fastball, slider. It was mostly fast, slider. I had a changeup, but I hardly ever used it. Back then I was probably anywhere from 90 to 95 [miles per hour]. That’s my guess. I was probably the same height as now [6-8], but I weighed like a buck-ninety. I did hit, but I’m trying to remember — I don’t think in that game. I used to pitch and hit for myself, but in my senior year, I didn’t do it as much. I played first some.
“I think [Yankees scouting director] Damon Oppenheimer was there. He’s mentioned it. He saw me a couple times. At that time, there was a lot of hype. My first time that I realized I had a chance to get drafted was when I hit 90 at 15 years old. We got a lot of scouts at our fall ballgames. I was getting hit around and my coach was kind of on me because I was throwing so hard. All I heard was, “90!” He’s like, ‘C’mon, Dellin, you’ve got to do better than that. You’re throwing 90.’ That’s all I heard. I didn’t care about anything else. I was just so glad I hit 90. From there, I was like, ‘I have a chance.’
“I had a lot of big-strikeout games in high school. I struck out 17. But 20, that was my career high.”