'Dogs on short leash as Mercersburg's Binford hurls no-hitter

April 10, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Mercersburg Academy freshman Christian Binford had allowed only two hits without giving up a run in his first five varsity innings entering Wednesday.

So he had already established quite the reputation when he toed the rubber for his first start against No. 5 Martinsburg.

Not one to be outdone - even by himself - Binford raised the bar once more by hurling a no-hitter in his starting debut to lead the Blue Storm to a 3-0 victory against the reeling Bulldogs.

Binford extended a scoreless streak by Blue Storm pitchers to 18 innings.

"We have two really good pitchers and to be one of the elites is amazing," said Binford, who delivered 117 pitches - 64 for strikes. "I was nervous at the beginning, but as the game went on it kind of went away."


That may sound a bit bizarre - countless pitchers tend to become more anxious as they edge closer to a no-hitter - but Binford could not be rattled.

He ignored the blatant 'no-hitter' chants that came from the Martinsburg dugout at the start of the seventh inning and capped the gem with his 11th strikeout.

"I just kind of chuckled when they were (chanting)," Binford said. "It was no big deal."

While Binford wasn't quite perfect - he walked six batters - he showed good damage control by keeping close tabs on the Bulldogs who managed to reach base. Only twice did a Martinsburg runner make it into scoring position and none made it to third.

"Not until he gave up a run were we going to pull him. But we weren't going to leave him hanging out there, either," said Mercersburg coach Karl Reisner. "Our pitching staff is solid. We don't have any superstars - though (Binford) might be one by the time he's finished here - but we have the guys to get the job done."

Binford got just enough from the Mercersburg offense to relax late in the game.

Cleanup hitter Chris Sintetos ripped a solo home run over the left-field fence to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth, and Trevor Smith smacked a run-scoring triple and scored on a wild pitch in the fifth to make it 3-0.

"We got the key hits at the right time," Reisner said.

Geffert was otherwise marvelous, allowing just two other base hits - both infield singles. He struck out five and walked only one in five innings.

"It was encouraging to see Spike pitch like that," said Martinsburg coach John Lowery Jr. "He did exactly what he needed to do to give us a chance. We just ran up against a hot pitcher. (Binford) overmatched our guys and threw a lot of legitimate pitches."

The Bulldogs (10-6) have struck out 26 times over the last two games and are 4-6 in their last 10 games.

"We haven't been able to make any adjustments," said Lowery Jr. "I've asked the guys to choke up and shorten their swings, but it hasn't happened.

"We've run into two very good high school pitchers. We won't see pitching that strong all the time."

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