Mitchell (Fla.) High School's Patrick Schuster threw four consecutive no-hitters this month. (AP)
A no-hitter in high school baseball isn't terribly uncommon. But four in a row?
Mitchell (Fla.) High School's Patrick Schuster did just that this month, tossing a quartet of no-hitters before finally surrendering a hit in the third inning of a district tournament loss. Schuster, from New Port Richey, Fla., had put together 32 consecutive hitless innings before Gaither's Drew Doty ripped a double that sparked his team to a 9-4 triumph on Tuesday.
Here's more on the streak from the Associated Press:
Schuster simply walked around the mound [after the hit], then got back on the rubber while a standing room-only crowd of more than 1,000 applauded his effort.
"I turned around and said, 'Thank you. It's done now and I don't have to worry about it anymore,'" a dejected Schuster said what turned out to be his final high school game. Mitchell was eliminated by Gaither High School 9-4.
The lanky left-hander had put together a string of four no-hitters going into the district tournament game, and had gotten through the first two innings without giving up a hit. Then came the double by Gaither's Drew Doty.
It wasn't the last damage done against Schuster. He worked five innings, allowing five runs -- three earned -- and three hits. He struck out five, walked five and hit three batters.
Schuster captured the state of Florida record when he turned in No. 4 last week at his home field in New Port Richey, northwest of Tampa. The national record for consecutive no-hitters by a high school pitcher is six.
He escaped the first inning against Gaither after walking two, hitting a batter and allowing an unearned run after his defense committed two errors behind him. In the second, Schuster set Gaither down in order before hitting the leadoff batter in the third. That's when Doty followed with his double, the first hit Schuster surrendered since March 24.
The New York Times profiled Schuster before losing his no-hitter streak and focused on the positive the story has brought after the Schuster family lost another son, Shane, to a juvenile form of bone cancer in 2002. “After Shane’s death, I think baseball was part of the healing process,” his mother, Sharon, said. “After that, we said we’d never miss another game.”
And what about Patrick Schuster's future? According to the Associated Press:
The 18-year-old is ranked as the 79th best prospect -- the 42nd best high school prospect -- in the country by Baseball America and has signed with the University of Florida. He has a fastball around 90 mph and some nasty breaking stuff delivered with the same slingshot motion. Experts say he'll likely be a second-round pick in the June amateur draft, with the string of no-hitters improving his status only slightly.
Schuster says he's excited to go to Florida, but won't rule out jumping right to pro ball if he goes high enough in the draft.
Going into Tuesday's game, Schuster had given up just nine hits in 55 innings this season, and was 8-0 with 110 strikeouts while helping his team to a 23-3 mark. He had 60 strikeouts in the four-game no-hit streak, which began April 3.
Schuster would have become the fourth high school pitcher to throw five consecutive no-hitters. Two players have thrown six in a row: Chris Taranto of Notre Dame High School in Biloxi, Miss., in 1961, and Tom Engle in Lancaster, Ohio, in 1989.
Taranto was signed by the Houston Colt '45s; Engle by the New York Mets. Arm problems ended their careers before they made it to the majors.
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