Cardinals' Bair is perfect

April 23, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

Andy Bair would have to strike out all 21 batters to top what he did at McDonogh yesterday. To say that Bair was perfect is understatement.

Calvert Hall's 6-foot-5, 225-pound junior left-hander pitched a perfect game on a perfect day, blanking McDonogh, 3-0. Bair (5-1) needed 84 pitches in striking out 14 and not permitting an Eagle to reach base.

Bair was involved in 18 of the 21 putouts with the 14 strikeouts, three assists and one putout (first baseman to pitcher covering).

Only three other Cardinals fielders handled the ball -- Dominic Liberto and Adam Roberts caught rou tine back-to-back fly balls in left and center, respectively, in the fourth inning, and first baseman Jason Dean gathered in a foul pop in the sixth.

The victory enabled the top-ranked Cardinals (15-1, 6-1) to take over first place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association by a half-game over the No. 6 Eagles (9-2, 6-2).

Calvert Hall rallied for two runs in the fourth off losing pitcher Mike Steller (1-2), and John McKay homered over the left-field fence in the fifth.

"I've never seen anything better than that," said Calvert Hall coach Joe Binder, who in 17 years as the Hall's varsity coach and six as JV coach had never had a pitcher throw a perfect game.

Bair got his pitches over consistently, with 65 of his 84 pitches strikes. His fastball was consistently at 84-85 mph with a tail on it and peaked at 86.

His curveball had a downward bite that made it unhittable, and his slow change made things unfair.

"It was definitely the best stuff I've had all year," said Bair. "This was the first day I used my change, and it worked great."

The closest thing McDonogh got to a hit came in the last inning, when leadoff hitter Richie Levin dropped a bunt between the mound and third on a 1-2 pitch.

Bair, who had never thrown a perfect game, pounced on the ball and nipped the speedy Levin by a step. Base umpire Jim Palace hesitated to make sure first baseman Jason Dean had his foot on the bag before making the call.

Ian Hendricks was the next batter, and he worked the count to 2-2 before Bair got him waving at a fastball tailing away for his 14th and final strikeout.

Dennis Badham, the only batter to run up a 3-2 count (in fourth before striking out) on Bair, bounced a high hopper back to the mound and the left-hander backhanded it and threw it to first for the final out.

"We didn't realize it was a perfect game until the last out," said sophomore catcher Mike Jewell. "We knew he had a no-hitter but not a perfect game."

Bair had one-hit McDonogh in a 10-0, five-inning game earlier this season.

"He's obviously thrown his two best games of the season against us," said McDonogh coach Al Poklemba.

"He was throwing strikes and we were just trying to make contact."

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