Believe it or not, the high school baseball season is already underway in Texas, and a prep pitcher has already etched his name into the National Federation of State High School Associations record books.
Ferris (Texas) High senior right-handed pitcher Evan Pontley became only the 17th player in history to record at least 22 strikeouts in a seven-inning prep baseball game, according to The Dallas Morning News. He issued just one walk and didn't allow a hit on 97 pitches in a 13-3 victory against Mabank (Texas).
The secret? "Throw it as hard as I could," he told the paper.
Remarkably, Pontley struck out six batters in the first inning, but his Yellow Jackets fell into a 2-0 hole when a pair of runs resulted from three dropped third strikes and a passed ball, according to the game story. A fly-out in the sixth inning ended a string of 20 straight strikeouts to start the game. A Class 3A All-State shortstop who batted .417 as a junior, he finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of RBI and a run scored.
While Pontley's 22 strikeouts is tied with 10 others for seventh in the national record books, he somehow did not set the state standard. That honor still belongs to national record-holder Brett Jennings of Lingleville (Texas), who struck out 24 batters in a 6-3 loss to Santo (Texas) in 1986.
Still, the Ferris senior has an early leg up on Texas prep pitching phenoms Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood, who are tied atop Major League Baseball's record books with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game.