California pitcher Michael Strem isn’t the first high school player to toss a perfect game, but he may be the first to require just 66 pitches to do it.
Strem led Mountain View (Calif.) St. Francis School to a 2-0 victory over Monta Vista (Calif.) High last Wednesday, retiring all 21 batters he faced in a dominating performance, the San Jose Mercury News reports. In addition to throwing the first perfect game in his school’s history, Strem had helped his team to advance to the second round of the California Interscholastic Federation Central Coast Section Division I playoffs.
That was just the surface of the pitcher’s accomplishment. Strem managed to finish the perfect game with just 66 total pitches, an average of around three pitches per batter -- 48 of the 66 pitches were strikes, allowing the St. Francis ace to rack up eight strikeouts.
The St. Francis star’s perfect game was made all the more important by his team’s anemic offensive output against Monta Vista. The game was deadlocked at 0-0 until the sixth inning, when St. Francis’ Mark Cardinalli managed to drive in a pair of runs with a single through the infield.
Strem’s 66-pitch perfect game would be a career-making accomplishment for any pro pitcher. Baseball Almanac notes Boston Braves pitcher Charley “Red” Barrett set a Major League Baseball record in 1944 by requiring just 58 pitches to toss a complete game against the Cincinnati Reds; however, he also surrendered two hits, while Strem didn't allow a single base runner.
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The No. 1 seed in this year’s CCS playoffs, St. Francis continued its strong showing last Saturday, defeating Valley Christian-San Jose 3-0 to advance to the tournament’s semifinals. Strem didn’t toss another perfect game in that matchup, but he did manage to record the save. St. Francis is scheduled to face fifth-seeded Palo Alto on Wednesday night.