Photo: The Belmont High battery of junior Nate Espelin (right) and senior Cal Christofori that set a school strikeout record.
That’s how Belmont High junior southpaw pitcher Nate Espelin described his day on the mound last week, Wednesday, April 19, against an undefeated Wilmington High Wildcats.
Coming off a no-decision in his first start of the season – a two-run, six strikeout performance in the home opener against Melrose – Espelin was seeking his first win of the junior campaign pitching away from home against a league rival.
Espelin did get his first victory last week, and more. Much more.
In a game of a lifetime, Espelin registered a school record 19 strikeouts in a 1-0 complete game (7 innings) shutout of host Wilmington. What was amazing – besides getting all but two batters out (19 of 21) via the K – is that Espelin struck out the final 18 batters he faced.
While the state’s interscholastic athletic association does not keep individual game pitching records, it appears that Espelin’s showing was a rare one, with just a few example of a pitcher striking out 21 batters in a game, without knowing the competitiveness of the opposition.