89 PITCH GEM FOR MINERS RIGHTY
SECOND NO-HITTER IN MINERS HISTORY
NINTH NO-HITTER IN CAN-AM HISTORY
June 13, Little Falls, NJ – Frank Duncan was the story on an overcast Thursday night at Yogi Berra Stadium.
The Sussex County Miners right-hander threw the second no-hitter in Miners franchise history with an 89-pitch gem against the New Jersey Jackals en route to a 3-0 Miners win. Duncan (2-2) only walked one batter and retired the last 24 Jackals he faced on the evening.
“It was pretty awesome,” said Duncan after the historic night. “To see everyone swarming me after I turned around is awesome. It’s the kind of stuff you dream about.”
Duncan’s only blemish on the night was a one-out walk to Conrad Gregor, of whom he quickly erased on a pickoff in the bottom of the first.
It would be the last time a Jackal would reach base.
Duncan credited a good game plan with Miners catcher Troy Dixon in helping achieve the no-hitter. “It was a good game plan from Troy,” he would say about the night. “We ust went out and it’s one of those night where you feel like you can execute any pitch you can throw.”
Duncan was locked in a tight pitchers’ duel with Jackals starter Matt Vogel for 7 innings, but the Miners would score 3 unearned runs in the 8th to give Duncan all of the support he would need. Defensively, Jarred Mederos would make a couple of key defensive plays to keep the no-hitter intact.
But the night was about the groove that Duncan and Dixon were in as a battery.
“It was pretty special,” Dixon would say about catching Can-Am history. “He had some of his best stuff and we were on the same page all night. It was fun.”
Both battery mates noted how they were on the same page from the beginning. “It really did,” Dixon would say when asked about being on the same page as Duncan. “He had one walk tonight. Kept pounding the zone, mixing it up. Definitely on the same page from batter number one.”
“He’s a phenomenal receiver behind home plate” Duncan would say of Dixon. “For a younger guy to be that good at receiving the ball and to get on the same page – I’m not going to be a guy that’s going to strike out 15 guys, so I have to rely on mixing pitches and executing pitches – when you have someone that’s thinking with you behind the plate, it makes it really fun.”
Miners manager Bobby Jones certainly admired the performance after the game. “Special,” was the first word Jones would use in describing how the no-hitter looked from his vantage point. “Definitely what the doctor ordered. We needed a great outing from a starter. We’ve been scuffling a little bit, and (Duncan) went out there and did his thing.”
The 89-pitch effort was also something that was very pleasing for the Miners skipper. “As efficient as you can be,” Jones would say. “I mean, that’s what it’s all about. You want to be efficient and get outs as quick as possible. We’ve been talking about that, and for him to go out there and do that is special.”
Duncan knew something special was happening as the game wore on. “I was just telling those guys I think I started thinking about it in the 5th inning or the 6th inning. That inning didn’t go as smoothly as some of the other ones. I’m splitting hairs, obviously, because that went pretty smoothly, I was falling behind. But I got back on track and was able to finish it out.”
The Miners return home tomorrow night when they take on the Shikoku Island All-Stars beginning at 7:05 pm.
Photo: Phil Hoops