At first blush, what La Crescent (Minn.) High pitcher Eric Veglahn accomplished earlier this season seems impossible. Needing just three more outs to finish off a complete game, seven-inning shutout of Hayfield (Minn.) High, Veglahn earned a spot in baseball lore by striking out five consecutive batters … in one half of an inning.
As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Veglahn's achievement set a state record for strikeouts in a single inning, topping four strikeouts, which had been accomplished 11 times in past Minnesota seasons. In fact, according to Deadspin, the feat of five strikeouts in a half inning appears to have been achieved just three times in the minor leagues, and once in the majors … in spring training.
Of course, the only way that Veglahn -- who sports an 8-1 record and 1.47 ERA in 2012 -- could have achieved the feat is with the unintentional aid of back-to-back errors by his catcher, as the Star Tribune pointed out in a batter-by-batter breakdown of the senior ace's five-K seventh.
The third batter went down swinging, but the catcher couldn't field the breaking pitch, allowing the runner to reach first.
"That should have been the third out," La Crescent coach Rick Boyer said. "Then the next one got away and I thought, 'Oh my goodness.' "
Veglahn struck out the fourth batter, but another passed ball allowed him to reach base. With runners at first and second, the tying run came to the plate.
Veglahn struck him out, too.
Fittingly, Veglahn's coach was singing his pitcher's praises after watching him close out a win with a record inning.
"I have never seen five strikeouts in an inning at any level, anywhere," Boyer told the Star Tribune.
Of course, Boyer isn't alone. Very few people have ever seen five strikeouts in an inning, and it's likely a first for all those in attendance at Veglahn's shutout of Hayfield.
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