How about this, did you know you threw a no-hitter?
“I had no idea I had a no-hitter,” Estes said.
But he figured it all out real quick when his head coach Scott Johnson and team crowded around him in celebration just outside the dugout.
The right-handed senior faced 20 batters, two over the minimum, walked four, allowed one earned run and struck out eight.
“He was mixing up his pitches,” said Wildcat catcher Carter Denton. “He was a little wild, but effectively wild. He kept them on their toes, mixed it up and got a lot of swing-throughs.”
Estes has thrown 10 innings this season and has allowed more runs (1) than hits (0). He has allowed 10 walks and struck out 12. He’s also hitting .500 (8-16).
“I started off not doing very good, not hitting my spots,” Estes said. “And then we went to hitting, and we all hit very well as a team and that boosted my confidence a little bit on the mound. So I started pounding the zone and hitting my spots and my team behind me backed me and made some good plays.”
One particular play early, was the key to the no-hit effort.
Summerville cleanup hitter Bryce Farrell smacked a one-hop liner that appeared destined for left field.
But Wildcat shortstop Tyler Helm ranged far to his right, stabbed the liner in the hole, threw to first and just beat Farrell to first base.
“Pretty much play of the year so far,” Johnson said. “This is a different year for us, we have open competiton at every spot and we don’t know yet who’s gonna play where. So we’ve got battles going on all over. Tyler is trying to make that shortstop job his. He’s always been a good fielder and now he’s developing into a good leader.”
Sonora struck for two runs in the first inning on an Eric Gilliatt double to center field that brought home Helm and Estes.
The Wildcats added another in the second on a Tom Thomason single that brought home Ryan Dies, who had doubled down the left field line.
Summerville scratched across its run in the third. Jeff Grabow earned a one-out walk and got to second and third on two wild pitches, the second was actually a strike out, but Estes’ wicked curveball bounced and went to the backstop allowing the batter to reach.
Grabow came home on a Preston Leslie fielder’s choice to make it 3-1 after three innings.
But the Wildcats put the game away in the fourth, sending 13 batters to the plate to score seven runs.
Denton, Estes, Raymond Albanez and Thomason had RBI-singles and Bozzo smacked a bases loaded, two-run double to left field.
Denton added a two run single in the sixth that helped the Wildcats end the game in the sixth, with a 10-run rule in effect.
Estes led Sonora (2-2) at the plate with three hits in five at-bats. Denton went 2 for 4 with three runs batted in.
The win was exactly what Johnson wanted with the Wildcats joining the Mother Lode League next year, the same conference as Summerville.
“We kind of talked as a team, and as a coaching staff before this that, we’re going into the Mother Lode League next year,” Johnson said. “So this year we play Summerville, Bret Harte and Calaveras and we’re treating them just like they are league games because we want to send a message for next year that we’re gonna come in ready to play. We took this game, real serious. We had probably our best practice of the year yesterday and Evan pitched a heck of a game.”
The Wildcats will play at Ripon Christian on Thursday before coming home to play Calaveras Friday at Bev Barron Field. First pitch is at approximately 6 p.m., following the junior varsity contest.
“We should be able to beat Ripon Christian Thursday,” Estes said. “And we’re really looking forward to Calaveras at home on Friday.”
Game notes: Summerville second baseman Preston Leslie robbed Sonora of a run in the third when he made a diving catch of a line drive hit by Garrett Bozzo. ... Sonora turned two double plays with just four Summerville baserunners.