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By RUSSELL TURNER
Greene County High School has enjoyed some special moments on the baseball field over the years.
A state championship, a No. 1 ranking in the state, too many epic battles between good teams to keep track of, etc., so forth.
But, Wildcat fans at Scott Bray Field on Monday witnessed something that apparently has never happened at the school previously – a no-hitter by a Wildcat pitcher.
Sophomore Collin Pipkins, making his first start of a varsity game in his young career, earned a complete-game win over visiting Resurrection Catholic and did so without giving up a single hit over seven innings. It is believed to be the first such no-hitter in Wildcat baseball history.
“It was an unbelievable night,” said GCHS Principal Scott Bray, whose name adorns the field at the school. “Think about a young pitcher being on the mound in his first varsity outing and throwing a no-hit shutout, complete game. Plus he had 13 strikeouts and no walks.”
“That does not happen very often. It reminded me of Taylor Kimble back in the day. It was a dominating performance.”
Pipkins mowed through the Eagles batting order, recording one 1-2-3 inning after another. He flirted with a perfect game and retired the first 17 batters he faced through five and two-thirds innings. His defense, which had been good all night, faltered with back-to-back errors on ground balls in the infield at that point. Pipkins then hit a batter to load the bases on one, if not the only bad pitch he made in the game. Pipkins worked out of that trouble to keep the shutout alive and struck out 2-of-3 Resurrection batters while retiring the side in order in the top of the seventh inning. Overall, he finished with 13 strikeouts, no walks and zero hits.
And, he did all this against a very good baseball team, whose pitcher was having a whale of an outing himself. In fact, Resurrection sophomore Cole Tingle had a no hitter going himself until GCHS senior Jackson Dueitt busted that up with a single in the bottom of the sixth. Dueitt took second on a throwing error and scored a couple of batters later on a hard hit ball by Gannon Henderson giving GCHS the only run they would need for the win.
GCHS Head Coach Nick Chatham said he had confidence that Pipkins would one day be a start for the Wildcats, but he wasn’t sure it would be this season. The youngster had struggled with his command for most of the pre-season and had never pitched a game above junior high ball until Monday.
“Boy did he prove me wrong,” Chatham said. “Collin is a competitor and a very heady baseball player and I knew he would be a bulldog on the mound at some point, there was just some uncertainty in how he would perform based on the fact that we didn’t get to play last year.”
“He was spot on with all of his pitches and it was a great performance and coming out party for him. If he can pitch like that for the rest of the season we will be in good shape. Also, you can’t throw a no-hitter without great catching and pitch-calling. A tip of the hat goes out to Jace Lott as well. He is great with our pitching staff and he and Coach Kimble worked together perfectly in Collin’s performance.”
For more information about the GCHS players and the big expectations the Lady Wildcats softball team has for this year, check out our Baseball – Softball Spotlight edition in this week’s edition (available at newsstands and online at www.greenecountyheraldonline.com).