Baseball: 18 strikeouts in no-hitter

Patrick Wicklander from Valley Christian of San Jose, which just this week ascended to No. 1 in the Cal-Hi Sports State Top 20 baseball rankings, led the team to 7-0 win over Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco on Tuesday with a no-hitter. And it wasn’t just any no-hitter, either.

In Wicklander’s no-hitter, he struck out 18 of the 23 batters he faced. He walked one and another runner reached base on an error.

There is no category in the Cal-Hi Sports state records for most strikeouts in a no-hitter but there is a category for most strikeouts in a seven-inning game. And in that category there are notations for those players who threw no-hitters.

The record would be 21 by two players. Eddie Gordon from Alhambra of Martinez, who had his 21-strikeout no-hitter in 1969 in a 4-0 victory against Las Lomas of Walnut Creek, would be the first. That achievement was duplicated in 2008 by Michael Fagan of San Diego Jewish Academy in a 5-0 win over San Diego Midway Baptist.

We also have notations for two other players with 20 strikeouts in a no-hitter. The first of those was by Bob Flynn of El Segundo in 1960 when the Eagles blanked St. John Vianney of Los Angeles 4-0. The second was by Steve Young from Amador of Sutter Creek in 1982 when the Buffaloes topped Calaveras of San Andreas 2-0.

Wicklander, who has signed with Arkansas, pitched a no-hitter earlier this season and may have set a record of some kind since it was a game that ended in a tie. In that game, he struck out 12 and gave up no hits in eight innings, but Elk Grove’s pitchers didn’t allow any runs and the two teams headed home with a 0-0 tie. Elk Grove, like Valley Christian, was expected to have one of the state’s best teams this season so Wicklander’s earlier outing in that game, even though he didn’t strike out as many, was arguably even more impressive than what he did against Riordan.

More details about the no-hitter this week were reported on Thursday morning by Archbishop Riordan and WCAL stat whiz Patrick Segurson. Wicklander struck out the first two batters he faced after VC already had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The third batter walked on an eight-pitch sequence. Wicklander then struck out the next eight batters in a row. That was followed by a grounder to Wicklander in which the throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag for an error. The next batter grounded out and then the next seven were struck out. In the bottom of the seventh, the first two Riordan batters flied out. The final hitter struck out. Matt Calhoun of Riordan walked, hit the ball that was the error and flied out.

Valley Christian plays next on Friday at home against Bellarmine of San Jose, which moved up to No. 2 in the state this week and won its game on Tuesday 4-0 over Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco.

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