Maxwell (Calif.) High's baseball game against Sutter (Calif.) High in the Shasta Lake Bass Easter Baseball Classic was anything but your typical tournament game. On the hill for Maxwell was hard-throwing Steven Perry, who one week earlier had tied Winters' Byron Randolph, and East Nicolaus' John Kukuruda for the Cali-Hi record with four consecutive no-hitters.
Under intense pressure, Perry brought his best stuff, leading his team to a 10-0 win in a performance that saw him pitch a near-flawless game. But it still wasn't enough to secure the state record, as Perry pitched a six-inning one-hitter for the victory.
One hit, that's all that separated the Maxwell ace from being alone at the top of the record books. Sutter's Mat Sanders broke the streak after he was able to fight off a pitch and drop it into center field for a single with two outs in the second inning.
The Sanders single was just the third hit Maxwell has allowed all season.
Even though he didn't break the record, it's clear Perry still left an impression on everybody in attendance with a performance that was just one pitch short of perfection. Perry has now pitched 36 innings this year for Maxwell and allowed just the three aforementioned hits. Perhaps more impressively, he has yet to allow a run.
"I'm disappointed he couldn't get (the fifth no-hitter), but I'm proud more than I can describe," Perry's grandfather, John Troughton, told the Colusa County Sun-Herald. "I've been watching him since he was five, and I was his first coach when he was four, before he got into tee-ball."
Like most high schoolers under pressure to break a state record, Perry admitted after the game that while he would have loved the record, he did feel some relief that the no-hitter pressure was over with.
"It's a big relief," Perry told the Sun-Herald. "I don't have the pressure to have to be perfect, I can just throw."
It's almost indescribable just how much pressure Perry was under entering the game, too. The teen had been featured across the Internet in the week leading up to the game, including profiles of his feat and expanded analysis of he and his teammates both here at Prep Rally and elsewhere at RivalsHigh.
Given those stakes, his final one-hitter might have been just as impressive as the four no-hitters that preceded it ... if not more impressive in itself.
Certainly, getting the no-hitter streak over with did little to slow down Maxwell's march to California small school dominance. Once Perry's no-hitter streak was no longer the top story in the state, the Maxwell baseball team got right back to doing what it does best: winning baseball games. The team defeated Shasta -- a much larger high school -- behind Tyler Wells' 30th straight win, and went on to win the tournament with some superb pitching.
How superb? The team only allowed seven hits during the entire tournament. Clearly, Steven Perry isn't the only flamethrower in the rotation. And, if there was any question that Perry and Wells' teammates were a strong supporting cast, one need only look at Maxwell's record after taking home the Shasta Lake Bass tournament title: 18-0. Anyone waiting for Maxwell to drop a game this season ought not hold their breath, because they could be waiting for quite some time to come.