By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey wasn’t the only guy tossing no-hitters on the night of June 2, 2013.
On the same night Bailey recorded his second career no-hitter in a 3-0 blanking of the San Francisco Giants, it was St. Michael Saints rookie pitcher Mitch Bauer pulling off the trick in a 3-0 victory over the Big Lake White Caps.
While the playing fields and lineups are much different between the two, every starting pitcher’s dream is to someday finish a game with the goose egg on the scoreboard by the opposing team’s hit column.
Ironically, after Bauer – a 2012 graduate of Maple Grove High School – recorded the final out in the ninth inning, the former Crimson standout and current Minnesota State University-Mankato pitcher said he forgot to do one thing.
“No, I didn’t keep the ball. I didn’t even think of it,” Bauer said. “It was the first no-hitter I’ve ever thrown and everyone was pretty jacked up. Once I got the final out, everyone ran to the mound.”
While Bauer was busy shutting down the Big Lake offense, the game still remained in doubt. The Saints broke a scoreless tie in the bottom half of the eighth inning thanks to a solo homer from all-star shortstop Alex Naasz.
St. Michael would tack on two more insurance runs later that inning and the 3-run cushion was more than enough for Bauer, who ended the night fanning 11 batters on 115 pitches to earn his third win of the season.
The no-hitter was the first in Saints history and the second one thrown in the North Star League this season. Howard Lake’s Jared Koch and Ed Cox combined for no-hit North Star League victory earlier this season in the Class-C Central Division.
Bauer’s no-no was only the 14th recorded in North Star League history and only the third in the Class B North since 2008. Albertville’s Corey Green (2002) and Elk River’s Tony Jarmoluk (2008) were the others.
St. Michael head coach Mike Freske said he’s seen a noticeable difference in Bauer’s pitching performances since the start of the season.
“Mitch red-shirted as a freshman at Mankato and didn’t get much game time in,” Bauer said. “Now that he’s pitching more frequently, it has really helped his control. He didn’t allow a hit because he was always working on top. It helps when you are always getting strike one and two early in the count.”
Bauer had a perfect game through five innings, but did face three over the minimum as he had three walks late in the contest.
“I actually knew I had good stuff right from the first inning. I felt good and was in command,” Bauer said. “After the first, things just kept clicking every inning.”