Alaska Road Warriors of Wasilla pitcher Jacob Butcher threw a no-hitter to defeat the American Legion Twins 2-0 on Sunday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
The Peninsula Clarion reported that Butcher had thrown a one-hitter in Monday’s paper.
But that reporting was based on the scorebook of the Twins. The Road Warriors scorebook had the recent Colony High School graduate down for a no-hitter, and since the Warriors were the home team in the day’s second game, the sterling pitching effort will go down as a no-no.
The play causing the confusion happened in the top of the seventh inning.
Ethan Oliver led off the inning with a walk for the Twins. Hector Rivera then hit a slow roller on the left side of the infield. Warriors third baseman Ben Ross fielded the ball and went to second, but it was too late to get Oliver.
Warriors coach Myrl Thompson said he had two separate people doing a scorebook and an electronic scorebook. Both ruled that if Ross had chose to go to first, he could have gotten Rivera. That means Rivera reaches on a fielder’s choice, not a hit.
Twins assistant coach Hector Rivera, doing the book for the Twins, ruled that Ross could not have gotten Rivera with a throw to first. That ruling gives Rivera a hit.
But it is the Warriors’ ruling that matters.
“If that’s what it’s going to be, that’s what it is going to be,” coach Rivera said. “I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”
The ruling makes an already impressive outing by Butcher even more impressive.
“It was just grit and guts,” Thompson said. “He just went out there and did what he had to do.
“He was going against a talented pitcher in (Brandon) Mahle and he knew there wouldn’t be too many runs off Mahle. He had to hold the score down and managed to do it.”
Making’s Butcher’s feat more impressive is that it came in a nine-inning game.
Thompson said he is adamant about not letting young pitchers throw a lot of pitches, so he rarely lets a pitcher go past seven innings.
But after seven innings, Butcher’s pitch count was only in the 70s. By way of comparison, Mahle threw 111 pitches before being removed after seven. He gave up an earned run and a hit while walking three, striking out four and hitting one.
By the end of the game, Butcher had thrown 94 pitches — 61 for strikes. He struck out five, walked two and hit one.
Thompson said Butcher is not a strikeout pitcher. That helped him because strikeouts pile up the pitch count.
“He’s definitely not an overpowering guy,” Thompson said. “His ball is slower than some, but he’s pretty sneaky.”
Thompson said Butcher has command of an array of pitches — a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, change-up, slider and curve.
“When he is on and he’s got all of them working, he’s tough to figure out,” Thompson said. “He’s tough to figure out when he’s changing speeds.”
Thompson has been the coach of the AA program for about two and a half years, so he said he was not sure about the historical context of the no-hitter.