Cal-Hi Sports Editor dubbed the Tri-River Athletic Conference the best league in all of talent-rich California prep baseball, but that hasn't stopped Buchanan (Clovis, Calif.) High's Jack Wheeless from absolutely owning his pitching schedule.
The junior southpaw threw back-to-back no-hitters earlier in April, improving to 9-0 in nine starts on the mound and carrying the Bears to a league-leading 20-2-1 record this season, as detailed in a great feature by The Fresno Bee's Andy Boogaard.
"I feel good, I feel great," Wheeless told The Bee. "It's awesome."
Awesome is an understatement. Wheeless owned a 0.37 ERA with 56 strikeouts and just 26 hits allowed (only two for extra bases) through his first 57 innings-pitched this season, including three straight shutouts, according to The Bee.
Wheeless no-hit Central (Fresno, Calif.) and Clovis (Calif.) East in a two-week span, totaling 17 strikeouts in the two victories. Dazzling as tough a schedule as anyone in California with a fastball, curve and change, he hasn't allowed a hit since April 3.
"He's very relaxed, at ease, joking around in the dugout, and he takes it to the mound," Buchanan pitching coach John Gross told The Bee. "He stays loose, and that helps him; he doesn't sit there in the dugout and think about it too much, and that helps him.
"All his hard work is paying off. It's a rare thing."
In fact, Central Section historian Bob Barnett told Boogaard that just seven players in section history have thrown two consecutive no-hitters, and only former California Angels first-round pick Lloyd Allen has thrown three straight.
Somehow, Wheeless does not rank anywhere on Perfect Game USA's junior prospect rankings. You know, because unhittable left-handed pitchers are so easy to find.
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