No-hitters at the prep level may not be common, but they're certainly not completely unseen, either. Perfect games, on the other hand, are an entirely different animal; they're rare, they're difficult and when you see one, it's almost as impressive as a perfect game at the pro level. After all, high school pitchers have far fewer appearances in which to deliver such a gem.
That's precisely what makes what Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic High star Chris Castellanos did on Tuesday all the more impressive.
As reported by the Long Beach Gazette and Los Angeles Times, Castellanos tossed a perfect game for the Jackrabbits, setting down all 21 batters he faced in Poly's seven-inning, 1-0 victory against crosstown rival Long Beach (Calif.) Wilson High and Wilson's established ace starter, Chase DeJong.
"He put it all together," Long Beach Poly baseball coach Toby Hess told the Gazette. "He had all three pitches working. When he does that, he's tough to hit. He was really pitching tonight, he was carving people up."
In the end, Castellanos' supreme efficiency ensured that all the Jackrabbits needed to win was a single run. They got that in the fourth inning courtesy of a single from Poly's Jeff Turley which scored Frankie Rios -- who brazenly ran through a stop sign on the base paths -- in the process.
That was all DeJong would give up, but it would prove to be enough on a night when DeJong's opponent hardly let any balls get out of the infield; remarkably, Castellanos achieved the perfect game with just five strikeouts and a whopping 13 ground ball outs.
Given all that work the Poly fielders had to do to keep Castellanos' perfect bid alive, perhaps he owes them all a postgame slushy, if not something more significant.
"This is the most excited I've ever been in my entire life," Castellanos told the Gazette.