Weeks after two Lousiana pitchers gained national headlines for dueling well into extra innings and racking up extraordinary pitch counts, a Massachusetts hurler followed suit, tossing a remarkable 155 pitches in a 3-1, nine inning victory.
The pitcher in question is the aptly named Willie Nastasi, whose stuff on the mound (particularly his four-seamer) is, well, nasty. According to ESPN Boston, the Barnstable (Mass.) High senior is 3-0 and has struck out 28 batters in 21 innings. Most impressively, he threw all 155 pitches of Barnstable's extra inning victory against Taunton, striking out 16 after having spent 15 days out of action between games. You can see photos from that game and other Barnstable action right here.
"This was one of Willie's more gutsy performances," Barnstable coach Joe DeMartino told ESPN Boston. "He got behind in a lot of counts, but he battled back, and when he need a strike on a 3-2 count, he got it. We didn't have a hit after the fourth inning, so this was all Willie today. He obviously threw a lot of pitches, and had the game gone into extras we would have taken him out, but he put the team on his back and carried us."
A UConn signee, Nastasi is the third pitcher in April to turn heads with a stunning pitch count, following in the wake of New Orleans (La.) Jesuit School ace Emerson Gibbs' 193-pitch performance in an 18-inning, 2-1 Jesuit win against Metaire (La.) Archbishop Rummel School. In total, Gibbs pitched 15 innings while his opponent, Mitch Seward, threw 154 pitches, leading many to criticize their coaches for allowing the Tulane and LSU signees, respectively, to work that deep into a game.
Finally, after significant public pressure, Jesuit coach Joey Latino admitted that allowing his pitcher to work that deep in the game as a mistake.
"The number is indefensible," Latino told New Orleans network WWLTV of Gibbs' pitch count. "It's indefensible. I can't defend the number, and I think that's one thing I'm going to have to live with for awhile and I think it's something I'm going to regret."
The question now is whether similar regret will come after Nastasi's Herculean effort. Nastasi himself -- like Gibbs before him -- said that he felt fine throughout the game, and that he never wants to come out based on his sheer competitiveness.
"Every team I face I want to dominate," said Nastasi. "When I'm on the mound, I always have a good confident feeling. I know what I'm doing out there and I trust that my team has my back. I have the mindset that I'm the best on the field and I'm going to do whatever I can to win."
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