2013 GREAT LAKES SUMMER COLLEGIATE LEAGUE NEWS
Trent Szkutnik Throws Complete Game No-Hitter, Docs Beat Mariners 10-0
By: Maddie Kuhn
CELINA, OH - "The hitter struck the ball pretty well and I didn't see it. I lost it in the lights in right. But, (Troy) Summers sat under it and made a routine catch. It was actually pretty scary because I lost it in the lights."
Trent Szkutnik's great summer season for the Dayton Docs just got better. Before June 26, the University of Michigan freshman was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA by giving up just 13 hits and six walks in 13 innings so far this season. He's already had a ten strikeout game this year; 10 K's in six innings against the Hamilton Joes six days ago. How does a pitcher do better than that? By throwing a no-hitter, that's how.
It was in the sixth inning when Docs manager Bart Davis turned to his pitching coach Trent Miller and realized something special was happening.
"He was in command of the strike zone. 20 out of 29 batters, first pitch was a strike, he was always pitching ahead in the count. It was kind of funny, we were looking ahead to his next start and he kept excelling," Davis said.
Szkutnik's next outing was all the manager could think about after the Docs built up a 7-0 lead in the third inning, but he dismissed his worries about pitch counts and stuck with his starter, who turned 123 pitches into a complete game no-hitter with fourteen strikeouts and just two walks.
Szkutnik said it was the walks, actually the lack thereof, that made the biggest impact because he struggled with them during his first year in college. He gave up 28 walks in 44 innings for the Wolverines. He said he felt more unusual before the game than he did during the game. And it wasn't in a good way.
"I was actually nervous before the game, my mind wasn’t in it. But, I got on the mound, I wasn’t walking guys, which is huge for me, and had command of my fastball."
Davis agreed that not much changed in this contest.
"There was nothing really different, it was just Trent on top of his game. (Zach) Mosbarger made a great play in center, (Brian) Bien had good plays at second base. It was really nothing different, just a pitcher on top of his game. The big lead helped, relaxed our hitters."
"When the offense is producing, it takes a load off," Szkutnik said. But, he acknowledged it wasn't just the offense and defense that made the night happen.
"(Kuris) Duggan caught a great game. I didn't have to shake off much. When I did, it was usually hit, but the middle infield made some great plays."
When the ninth inning arrived, Szkutnik worked his mental stamina as much as his physical.
"When I go deep into a game, I think of it as inning one. I reset myself, try not to overthrow, keep placing my fastball."
The lefty was glad that his coaches kept it simple.
"They let me get into a groove. They weren't on my case saying "Are you all right." My pitching coach Travis Miller was really calm. He said the same words to me before every inning "Get the first one." I heard that nine times. It's nice he puts trust in our hands."
It's not in Szkutnik's nature to be quiet in the dugout and he tried to make sure tonight was no different, despite the baseball superstition that it's bad luck to talk to a pitcher between innings when he's rewriting history.
"It's just my mentality. I'm always goofing in the dugout and always talking to guys. I did notice they started moving away from me in before the ninth inning. It was funny, my batboy was talking about the outing before the game was over. He walked up to me in the seventh inning and said 'I jinxed you Trent.'"
After the infield dirt settled on the remarkable evening, Davis said he had never seen a no-hitter as a manager and that he enjoyed it.
"It was a good team win and a special night for Trent, I know."
As for the fifth pitcher in the Great Lakes League's 25-year history to throw a no-hitter?
"Feels good, I didn't beat myself. Every time I go out there throwing strikes, but the defense made plays. They made it very comfortable."
When a pitcher completes a feat like a no-hitter, it's easy to feel awe struck talking to them, to feel the serious weight that comes with being a part of a historical moment, to feel like you have to remember every moment because writing a story like this may never happen in your career again. Szkutnick lifted the weight right off of the situation when I asked him if he had anything else to say.
I couldn't have said it better myself. Congratulations, Trent.