Few high school pitchers can claim to have thrown a perfect game. Fewer still can say they pitched one in their final high school start.
But Mount St. Joe senior left-hander Ryan Clark of Ellicott City can make both claims.
"It was kind of nice that it came in my last start, but it would have been better had it been in the league championship game," Clark said.
The perfect game against McDonogh came in the opening round of the A Conference Maryland Scholastic Association playoffs as Clarkfaced the minimum 21 batters.
Clark threw only 72 pitches and just 17 balls. He had only one 3-0 count.
Unfortunately, the Gaels lost the next two games in the double-elimination tourney and ended Clark's hopes of possibly pitching in the championship game.
Clark compiled a 6-3 won-loss record and 2.50 ERA this season, pitching six complete games and 61 2/3 innings while striking out 40 and walking 19. He was 8-3 his junior season and made The Evening Sun's second-teamAll-Met team.
This year's record should have been much better, but he lost a 1-0 one-hitter to Centennial and a 2-0 three-hitter to Curley.
The loss to Centennial, the first time St. Joe had lost to aHoward County team since 1982, was the season's low point for Clark.
"We had the bases loaded and no one out in the sixth and didn't score," Clark said.
He ended the inning by flying out into a doubleplay. Centennial's only run was unearned, which made the defeat evenharder to swallow. His other loss came in a relief stint against Calvert Hall, the eventual MSA champs.
He throws an assortment of sixpitches -- a fastball, curve, knuckler, drop, slider and change.
"It just depends which one happens to be working well on a given day as to which pitch is my best," Clark said.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is headed to George Washington University on a combination baseball/academic scholarship. He had a 3.75 grade-point average after threeyears at St. Joe, and thinks his final grade average will be 3.80.
He signed with GWU on April 11 and plans to study business.
Clark not only can pitch, but also swings a pretty mean bat.
He hit .350 while leading the team with 22 RBI and eight doubles. He hit two homers and one triple.
"He's a real coachable player who is very bright and wants to learn the game," said St. Joe coach Dave Norton.
In addition to the perfect game, another season highlight came against Glen Burnie when Clark pitched a four-hit shutout and blasted a grand slam.
"Glen Burnie had beaten us the year before, so there wasa revenge factor there," said Clark. He also pitched a three-hit shutout against Loyola -- with three hits himself -- and had three hits against Good Counsel.
The MSA is considered the premier baseball conference in the Baltimore area, and Clark relished the chance to play in it.
St. Joe, ranked in the Top 10 all season by The Sun, compiled a 20-5 record this spring.
Unlike public schools, which play only in the spring, the Gaels also play about 20 games in the fall.
And they practice indoors during the winter, a regimen designed to get the most from players.
Clark also started at center last winter for St. Joe's Top 10 basketball team.
During the summer, Clark plays for Liberty Road in the Baltimore Metro League. That team finished third in the national Dizzy Dean Tournament last summer, with Clark compiling a 6-2 record.
Attending St. Joe has been a family tradition for the Clark family. Ryan's father, Dennis, graduated from theschool in 1964, and
Ryan's two older brothers, Brent and Craig, also graduated from there.
Clark, St. Joe's MVP this year, has madethe prestigious Crown
All-Star team this year, a team sponsored by the Crown Petroleum Co.