June 30, 2009
Not that he minded all the autographs on this special night, but Brandon Hynick really wanted some time to call his parents.
To think, the day before he joked about enjoying his anonymity while walking through the Security Service Field concourse out of uniform and completely unnoticed.
Perfection sure does change things.
Hynick turned away every Portland hitter he faced in the first perfect game - even the first individual no-hitter - in Sky Sox team history by beating the Beavers 2-0. For good measure, he did it in front of the biggest crowd of the year as 7,651 were on hand to take advantage of the $2 Tuesday special.
Tuesday's game went just seven innings as part of a quasi-doubleheader that began with the completion of Monday's game that was suspended by rain.
But the game was official, and so was the feeling for the man who suddenly was the most sought-after player on the field.
"I'm going to have to let it sink it, I don't think it has yet," said Hynick, whose perfect game came after working seven shutout innings in his last start. "I'm sure it will tomorrow or the next day."
It was the ninth perfect game in the 100-plus-year history of the Pacific Coast League and the eighth by an individual. It was the first perfect game in the PCL since Manny Parra of Nashville hurled a 3-0, nine-inning victory over Round Rock on June 25, 2007. In 2006, three Portland pitchers combined to beat Sacramento 5-0 in a seven-inning game.
Hynick, 24, considered a top prospect in the Rockies organization, needed a gem from second baseman Eric Young Jr. to secure the best mound performance of his life.
With one out in the seventh, Portland's Mike Baxter sent a sharp ground ball that looked destined for right field before the speedy Young made a diving stop, recovered and then made a perfect throw.
"When it was hit I knew I was diving regardless if I was going to be close or not," said
Young, whose play atoned for two errors in the day's first game. "But when I was mid-air I was like ‘OK, I got a shot at it.' And then when it went in the glove I was just like, ‘I've got to concentrate and make a good throw.' "
Hynick was the most interested spectator in the stadium on the play, especially since many in attendance didn't seem to realize the significance of what they were watching.
"I thought it was a hit," said Hynick, who improved to 7-5 with a 3.50 ERA after his six-strikeout performance. "I definitely thought it was a hit, but then I saw he had a little bead on it. But you can't do something like this without your defense."
If anyone in the park wasn't aware of what was going on after Young's play, they certainly knew after the next ball found Dan Ortmeier's glove in right field and a raucous on-field celebration ensued.
"I didn't even realize until after the game was over and I saw everybody running and cheering and everything, I wasn't even paying attention," Sky Sox manager Stu Cole said. "I was just wanting us to get outs so we could get the win.
"That was outstanding."
In typically wacky baseball fashion, the perfect game came on the heels of a game that was about as imperfect as it gets.
Portland's 10-8 win included seven errors, 10 unearned runs and a broken bat on a bunt attempt. There was also a catcher's interference, an ejected manager, seven walks, two hit batters, an overnight rain delay ... you name it, it happened.
But nothing could have braced anyone for the craziness that would come later, when Hynick cemented his status as a legitimate prospect who someday soon figures to play in the big leagues.
And that phone call? It finally came in front of a cleared-out Sky Sox dugout in an empty stadium.
On the other end of the phone, Hynick's parents in Ohio told him how proud they were and how disappointed they were that they couldn't see it - his father was initially planning on being here before Brandon had a recent start bumped back a day, which fouled up the schedule.
But disappointment didn't stand a chance on this night.
After all, perfection changes everything.
On Tuesday night, the Sky Sox's Brandon Hynick became the eighth individual in Pacific Coast League history to toss a perfect game. Here is a look at the other pefect efforts:
- June 25, 2007: Manny Parra, Nashville, against Round Rck (9 innings), 3-0
- June 9, 2006: R. Meaux, C. Meredith, A. Lopez, Portland, against Sacramento (7 innings), 5-0
- April 7, 2003: John Wasdin, Nashville, against Albuquerque (9 innings), 4-0
- July 7, 2001: John Halama, Tacoma, against Calgary (9 innings), 6-0
- May 19, 1975: Gary Ross, Hawaii, against Salt Lake (5 innings), 19-0
- Sept. 12, 1954: Roger Bowman, Hollywood, against Portland (7 innings), 10-0
- May 16, 1948: Kewpie Dick Barrett, Seattle, against Sacramento (7 innings), 3-0
- May 31, 1943: Cotton Pippen, Oakland, against Sacramento (7 innings), 10-0
Salt Lake, the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels since 2001, visits tonight to begin a three-game series. The Bees (41-38) are in second place in the Pacific Coast League's Pacific North Division, trailing Colorado Springs (46-32) by 51/2 games. Salt Lake took two of three at home in mid-June.
PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Chris Pettit, LF
The top left-field prospect in the organization, according to Baseball America, Pettit should be a handful with his .367 average, 21 doubles, 34 RBIs and 14 steals.
Anthony Ortega, RHP
Rated as the Angels' No. 9 prospect, he's struggling in his second go-round in Triple-A, posting a 9.64 ERA in four starts.
Matt Brown, 1B
A year after tearing up the PCL (.320, 21 HR, 67 RBIs in 97 games), he's hitting just .216, but still showing power with 10 HR and 44 RBIs.
Bobby Wilson, C
Earned September call-up because of his defense a year ago.
NAMES YOU MAY KNOW
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Has .294 average in 303 games with the Angels, but hasn't put together his full power/speed game at the next level.
Brandon Wood, 3B
No longer technically a prospect because of his service time, but has a minor-league career high of 43 home runs.
BRENT BRIGGEMAN, THE GAZETTE