Hunter Stanley, Adam Macko Lead Combined One-Hitter To Send Peoria To Semifinals

Image credit: Adam Macko (Bill Mitchell)

MESA, Ariz.—With a spot in the semifinals on the line, Peoria’s pitching staff stepped up to deliver the best pitching performance of the Arizona Fall League season.

Guardians righthander Hunter Stanley, Mets lefthander Josh Walker, Mariners lefthander Adam Macko and Nationals righthander Amos Willingham pitched a combined one-hitter to lead Peoria to a 4-0 win in seven innings over Mesa on Thursday afternoon in a winner-take-all game for a spot in the semifinals. The Javelinas came within two outs of a combined perfect game before Athletics prospect Zack Gelof hit a double off Willingham in the seventh.

“it was amazing,” said Macko, who pitched three perfect innings. “It was a very cool thing to see my friends do a really good job before me and I just wanted to continue doing that. I didn’t know it was a perfect game. I threw some gutsy pitches and for it to work out, it was awesome.”

Peoria will face Glendale in the semifinal at Peoria Sports Complex on Friday. The winner advances to face Surprise in the championship game at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday.

Stanley, an 11th-round pick in 2021 out of Southern Mississippi, got it started with two perfect innings. He struck out only one batter but consistently stayed off the barrel, repeatedly getting weak popups and flyouts.

Once Peoria’s relievers came in, the swings and misses started. Walker struck out the side in the third inning, firing an array of low-90s fastballs and low-80s sliders from the left side that made quick work of the bottom of Mesa’s order.

Macko followed with the most dominant performance of the afternoon. The 21-year-old Slovakian lefthander pitched three perfect innings with five strikeouts, showcasing a trio of putaway pitches. He struck out Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez looking at a 95 mph fastball, Cubs first baseman Matt Mervis swinging at an 86 mph slider, Athletics outfielder Lawrence Butler looking at an 84 mph slider and Marlins shortstop Jose Salas swinging through a 92 mph fastball before finishing his outing by buckling Marlins catcher Cameron Barstad at the knees with a 72 mph curveball.


Macko needed only 33 pitches to retire all nine batters he faced. It was a significant turnaround from his earlier AFL performances, when he logged a 7.84 ERA and walked 13 batters in 10.1 innings.

“Honestly, after those couple outings where I struggled I just wanted to come out and have fun and kind of leave this place knowing that I kind of did everything that I could and that I had enjoyed my time here,” Macko said. “That’s when things started rolling for me, when I just kind of said ‘You know what? I’m just gonna go out there and have as much fun as I can.’ ”

Willingham struck out Michael Guldberg to lead off the seventh, but Gelof ended the perfect game bid when he turned around a 98 mph fastball and drilled it into the left-center gap for a one-out double. Willingham quickly recovered, getting groundouts from Dominguez and Mervis to end it to send Peoria to the semifinals.

A pair of Mariners prospects supplied all the scoring in the game. Outfielder Spencer Packard hit a three-run homer and Jose Caballero hit an RBI single in the top of the first inning for the game’s only runs.

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