Ryan Brady hurls no-hitter vs. Grantsville
Almost on cue, the skies opened up and rain began to fall on the Park City High School baseball field at 3:30 p.m., the scheduled first-pitch time for Tuesday afternoon’s game between the Miners and Grantsville. The field, though damp, was still playable, but it was anyone’s guess how long it would stay that way.
When Park City junior Ryan Brady is on the mound, though, games tend to move along quickly. That was the case again on Tuesday, as Brady stymied the Grantsville batters en route to a no-hitter.
After striking out two batters in each of the first two innings, Brady was given a 2-0 lead on an RBI double by JC Pollard and a run-scoring single by Joey Lukrich.
Brady responded by striking out the side in the top of the third and it became clear that something special was happening. The Miners scored four more times in the bottom of the third to give Brady more than enough separation.
Though he walked two batters, hit one and had three errors committed behind him, Brady struck out 15 Cowboys over seven innings and completed the game with a no-hitter intact. Following the final out (a strikeout, of course), the Miners mobbed Brady by the pitcher’s mound and celebrated the rare achievement.
Pollard, Brady’s catcher, said he could tell early on that a no-hitter was a possibility on Tuesday.
"When the pitcher has his best stuff, you can tell in the bullpen [session] and you can tell early on," he said. "He just hit his spots all day long and was in the [strike] zone. I could call any pitch and be 100-percent confident that it was going to be where it needed to be."
Though Brady had been scheduled to start Tuesday’s game since Park City’s win over Union on Friday, he said he saw the weather forecast and doubted he’d be taking the mound.
"Honestly, I woke up this morning not necessarily expecting to play," he said. "But I did everything regularly to prepare for the game and it turned out it happened. It’s one of those things you just prepare for and if it happens, it happens."
As for the no-hitter, Brady said he was happy it happened, but not surprised — after all, he’s thrown a no-no before.
"I had one last year against Morgan, but this was my first home one," he said. "For some reason, it feels a lot better. I had a few of my friends watching and a lot more of the team was here to see it. It just feels better."
Brady had already flirted with a no-hitter a couple of times this season, allowing only a pair of hits during a win against Tooele and only a single hit during a victory against Logan. He acknowledged that either one of those games could have been no-hitters, but added that luck plays a big part in the accomplishment as well.
"I knew that I could do it, but it’s really a hard thing to do," he said. "It’s not necessarily in my control. For the most part, though, it’s between the pitcher and the catcher. JC did a great job calling the game."
Park City Coach Eric Morgan had said earlier this season that he thought Brady would throw a no-hitter before the season was over. Pollard said he felt the same way as his coach.
"I honestly would have bet my entire life savings that, at some point this year, he was going to be perfect or throw a no-hitter," Pollard said. "I expect him to do it again, too."
The win gave Park City an edge on the No. 2 spot in Region 10 and dropped Grantsville to No. 3. Morgan said that while Brady’s effort was impressive, he thought the entire team played well in an important game.
"The importance of this game was huge and to have a guy like Ryan on the mound gives us a lot of confidence," he said. "As great as his pitching was, I told the team that our execution offensively was also big."
The RBIs by Pollard and Lukrich in the second inning would have been enough for Park City to win, but the Miners also got an RBI sacrifice fly from Payton Gross, an RBI single by Drew Castellanos and a run-scoring single from Pollard in the bottom of the third.
Pollard’s double in the second inning one-hopped the left-field fence for a ground-rule double. It was one of the hardest balls the Miners have hit this year and Brady said it energized the rest of the offense.
"We probably have the biggest field in the region," he said. "Seeing a ball hit that far adds confidence to the other guys."
Pollard said he simply anticipated what the Grantsville pitcher was going to throw and made an adjustment.
"I got behind in the count early, but then he threw two curveballs in the dirt to make it a full count," he said. "I knew he didn’t want to walk me, so he was going to come with a fastball. I just sat on it and put a good swing on it."
Park City (9-9 overall, 6-3 in Region 10) is scheduled to play Tooele on Tuesday afternoon. With Stansbury sporting a 7-1 record in region play, Tuesday’s game and the other two region games remaining on Park City’s schedule are extra important, Morgan said.
"We’re still fighting for first place," he said. "If we can get a win [against Stansbury] and the rest of the region helps us, we’re still right there. Every game from here on out is the most important game."
Tuesday’s game against Tooele is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. at PCHS.
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Two Park City singles players advance to the semifinals of the 5A state tennis playoffs; North Summit and South Summit girls soccer to begin state playoffs next week.