Low Class A Lake County righthander Carlton Smith has been silencing bats in his last two starts for the Captains, but Sunday was a day the 21-year-old will never forget.
Smith, who took a no-hitter into the fourth inning in his last start against West Virginia on June 16, did the bulk of the work at home against Delmarva as three Captains arms combined for a no-hitter in Lake Countyâ€™s 2-0 win against the Shorebirds.
The 2004 21st-round pick tossed seven no-hit innings, walked one and struck out four. Righthanders Austin Creps and Luis Perdomo completed what Smith started, shutting down Delmarva over the final two innings to complete the first no-hitter in club history.
â€œCarlton was able to keep his sinker in the zone with good velocity to his four-seamer,â€ Lake County pitching coach Ruben Niebla said. â€œHis slider had late bite to it, and that kept hitters off balance. Hitters just never looked comfortable in the box against him.
â€œHe worked from the middle off the plate and expanded with two sharp pitches going in opposite directions (sinker and slider).â€
Smithâ€™s sinker sat in the 90-91 mph range, while his four-seam fastball topped out at 94. His slider ranged anywhere from 83 to 87, and his command of those three pitches were as good as theyâ€™ve been all season.
The righthander missed the second half of last season with elbow tenderness after being shut down in late June. Smith also got off to a slow start this year, going 1-1, 4.13 in April and bottomed out in May with 1-2, 8.75 numbers in 24 innings.
Overall, Smith is now 5-5, 5.23 in 78 innings for the Captains.
But the Indians, who drafted and signed Smithâ€™s older sibling Corey as a first-rounder in 2000 before trading him to the Padres in 2005 after five disappointing seasons, feel like they have something in the younger brother in the Smith family from New Jersey.
â€œHeâ€™s really coming along,â€ Niebla said. â€œIn his last four outings Iâ€™ve started seeing his delivery and pitches coming together. His fastball is much more explosive and slider tightening up. And on Sunday, unlike other no hitters weâ€™ve seen this one didnâ€™t have the spectacular play to save it. It was definitely a fun one to watch and be part of.â€
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