But for 4 hours 38 minutes on an April evening this spring,
That was the amount of time it took Tremper to defeat
cross-town rival Horlick High of
"As coaches, we just looked at each other after every
inning and said 'Is this for real?'" Tremper assistant coach Randy Hoover
said. "After a while it got to the point where for four innings in a row
Because of the climate, weather is the main proponent of
playing baseball in the summer rather than the spring in
With temperatures in the low 40s and occasional drizzle,
Of course, he didn't imagine his team failing to push across a run for 19 innings, but that was the case as the teams carried play to the 20th still tied 0-0.
"I kept thinking that 'we don't have a run now, but we'll get one,' " said Nick Rice, Tremper's senior lefty who pitched the first six innings before joining his teammates in the dugout praying for a run. "Around the 10th inning I thought, 'uh oh, there's no signs of any one scoring.' I think we just needed a little pressure on us."
That pressure finally came in the 20th, when Horlick broke through when a wind-aided, two-out pop-up was misplayed by second baseman Matt Gianeselli, allowing two Horlick baserunners to score.
But the fateful fly ball wouldn't be that final strange sequence of this wild contest, as Tremper came back in the bottom of the 20th to tie the game 2-2. With two outs and runners on first and third, the game-winning run crossed the plate on a balk by Horlick reliever Anthony Wurster. The lefty lifted his front leg, saw the runner break from first base, hesitated and never threw over to first base. The home plate umpire called the obvious balk, and the game was finally over.
"It was a mix of relief, celebration and amazement,"
The epic is tied for the nation's 10th-longest high school
game played, according to the National Federation of State High School
Associations. It was an inning away from matching the all-time longest
scoreless game record of 20 innings set when
The record for the longest documented high school game in
"Looking back on it, this is something the kids are
going to remember for the rest of their lives, simply because how historic it
The game included a total of nine errors, 18 hits, 31 runners left on base, 42 strikeouts and 157 plate appearances.
Tremper had its chances to end the game well before the 20th inning. The Trojans had runners at first and third with no outs in the bottom of the first inning but failed to score, then had a runner thrown out at the plate in the seventh inning before loading the bases with no outs in the ninth.
Amazingly, the game featured only seven pitchers. Horlick used three, thanks to eight innings of one-hit ball by starter Murphy Olson and reliever Kyle Kisner, who tossed nine shutout innings before giving way to Wurster.
Rice and fellow senior Andrew Paulauskas combined for 15 shutout innings, and were the main reason the Trojans are considered one of the state's top teams.
Rice is a 6-foot-6 lefthander who routinely throws in the
mid-80s with his fastball and has impressed scouts this spring with good
command of his curveball and changeup. He's committed to
Paulauskas throws even harder than Rice, with a fastball
that sits near 90 mph. The 6-foot-2 righthander has committed to Madison (
It took all the ammunition Tremper could throw at Horlick
for the Trojans to keep the game tied, but eventually the top two prospects on
the field would be just like everyone else still watching at
AROUND THE NATION
• Seton Hall Prep (
• In 2000, Landon
Powell acquired his GED diploma in an effort to sign with a major league
team as a free agent following his junior year of high school. In 2006, Robert Stock enrolled early at
Now, Tommy Winegardner is leaving high school early. The 17-year-old from St. Leonard, Md., was considered one of the top high school sophomores in the country, but has put himself in position to graduate, and thus become draft eligible, in 2008.
The move is not as drastic as it might sound. When he was in
middle school, Winegardner attended a baseball academy in
"I talked to my coaches and parents and we decided it
was a good idea," Winegardner said.
Winegardner, who is home schooled while playing baseball at
Riverdale Baptist High (Upper Marlboro, Md.) about an hour away, will continue
courses this summer while playing for a travel team. He will finish his
coursework in the fall so he can concentrate on baseball next spring.
His mission now is to make sure that college coaches know
about his plans.
"I'm sending letters to major Division I schools,
telling them about me moving up," said Winegardner. a talented two-way
prospect with a high-80s fastball to go along with the ability to switch-hit
and play shortstop.
Winegardner says he has interest in
• As the regular season wound down in
• Across the country, junior outfielder Peter Verdin was enjoying quite a year, as well. Verdin was batting .500 (38-for-76), with eight doubles, two home runs and 15 stolen bases as the leadoff man for Paul VI High (Fairfax, Va.), which was 20-3 overall.Contributing: Nathan Rode.