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Kid perfection: 18 up, 18 down
He may be only one-third of their size, and his game may be only two-thirds as long, but Sam Wolfe has done something most major league pitchers only dream of doing he pitched a perfect game.
Wolfe threw 13 strikeouts and retired 18 consecutive batters to lead the North Whidbey Little League 11-12-year-old All-Stars to a 6-0 win over Central Whidbey Tuesday night.
I was nervous, Wolfe said in an interview Wednesday.
A perfect game means that Wolfe did not allow any member of the opposite team to reach base. He gave up no walks and the defense committed no errors.
North Whidbey Head Coach John Humphries said this was the first perfect game he had seen in a little league game since he saw one 10 years ago.
Its very big, Humphries said. To throw a perfect game in this type of game thats very huge.
Wolfe said he relied on his two main pitches, the four-seam fastball and a hanging curveball to carry him through the game. He used the fastball to blow by the slower swinging batters, and for the big hitters, he used his curveball, he said.
The curveball is my best pitch, he said. It comes down inside, and the (other) coaches get mad.
Humphries said his staff taught Wolfe different grips to adjust the balls movement to complement Wolfes fluid, almost sidearm, delivery.
Just his natural movement kind of cuts away from the batter, which makes him more effective, Humphries said.
Wolfe said he credits a strong defense for allowing him to stay focused on delivering pitches that were unhittable.
He was on and he mixed up his pitches well, Humphries said.
The game did not start as smooth as it ended. Central Whidbeys first batter stroked a hard flyball to left field, where Josh Evans was waiting for it.
Josh saved me on a line drive, Wolfe said. It really saved my butt.
Wolfe also received some help from the offense. Austin Humphries took the first pitch of the game deep to give North Whidbey the only run it would need.
Wolfes father, Derek, said he did not realize how well Wolfe was throwing until the fifth inning. Another parent told him in the fifth that Wolfe had a no hitter working. When Wolfe struck out the first two batters of the sixth inning, Derek took notice.
I started looking around and getting a little excited, Derek said.
Humphries said he had considered pulling Wolfe in the third inning, but decided to let him keep throwing.
I said, Holy smoke, this kids on fire, Humphries said. It was his day.
The game ended in a fitting manner. Central Whidbeys final batter hit a pop fly which Wolfe caught.
In the sixth inning, I thought I had it in the bag, Wolfe said.