Little Leaguer fans 18 in six innings
Young Hunter Blevins, 12, of Eagle, put together a Roger Clemens-like performance Monday night at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. Pitching for the Knights in WECMRD’s major-division Little League, Blevins went the distance – six innings – and fanned 18 batters in the process in a 6-1 win over the Big Styx.
Yes, that’ll earn you a nickname like The Cannon.
“His teammates have nicknamed him The Cannon. He throws really, really hard. If he’s not the hardest thrower in our league, he’s not a far second,” Knights skipper Stan McClintock said. “I’ve coached this division for three years and I have never seen this – 18 putouts and all by strikeout.”
Oh, by the way, the kid can hit too. He decked a home run and knocked in three runs.
The Knights’ bench started to get a whiff – pardon the expression – of what was happening out on the mound after four innings as Blevins mixed his two- and four-seamed fastballs skillfully with the changeup.
“The last two innings, the kids knew he was doing something special,” McClintock said. “They were screaming and hollering. All of the parents were there. There had to be at least 50 people there. Both teams were even getting sucked into it. When the game was over, all the fans clapped. Our kids, it was like we had won the World Series.”
McClintock, whose team was only playing its second game of the season, gave a lot of credit to catcher Dwight Bitsuie, who did a good job of providing a steady target, and the rest of the team for supporting Blevins down the stretch.
“They talked to him and told him to keep going, a lot of encouragement,” McClintock said. “For as young as my team is, they have to be a team to compete in this league. It’s a very talented league.”
Hunter’s very proud parents are Carol and Teep Blevins.
Blevins wasn’t the only strikeout maestro on display Monday night. Big Styx starter Daniel McKiernan punched out 13 Knights batters, making it a total of 31 strikeouts on the evening.