The pre-game warm-up at the Bullpen went so well that Riley Cass knew he was going to put up a great game.
And after the Marine City senior mowed down the first three batters in the opening inning of the travel baseball game he played last weekend, he knew it was going to be one of his greatest outings of all time.
Cass threw a no-hitter for the Michigan Bulls of Novi, who took a 9-0 win in eight innings during the Legacy Sports Center College Prep Classic matchup in Brighton last Friday.
He threw 78 pitches, of which 49 were strikes, and ended with five strikes.
“I was in command of my pitches and my two-seam fastball (fastball) worked better all year round,” said Cass, 17. “Between innings, I kept focusing. I just sat in my same spot in the dugout and did everything right after every inning. ”
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The shelter was silent for most of the game. Nobody brought up that Cass was well on its way to planting a no-hitter. As you know, baseball players are superstitious and his teammates and coaches didn’t want to stop Cass from doing the unthinkable.
The final of the game was a ground-out on third base.
“My first thought was how crazy it was to do that,” added Cass. “I thought, ‘Wow, I just did that’ and then it hit me even harder when all of my teammates came out and congratulated me. Then the emotions took over for me.”
It is actually the third no-hitter in Cass’ career when he tossed a pair of them as an 11- and 13-year-old while playing in the North Jefferson Junior Baseball Association when he and his family were living in Colorado.
This one, he said, meant more because it was up against some of the best competition the state of Michigan has to offer.
Not bad for a kid who couldn’t make his university debut for the Mariners last season. COVID-19 concerns forced the MHSAA to cancel all spring sports in the state. Cass was expected to be in the starting rotation of the pitchers for Marine City.
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“Riley would definitely have been a kid on our team who would have made a contribution up the hill over the past year,” said Marine City coach Daryn Letson. “So it’s a good thing he did and hopefully that prepares to add a little bit to our rotation next year.
“I think he’s a smart boy who knows how to throw a little. He doesn’t just throw the ball. He understands how to throw. He will continue to work hard and improve his game. I know when I had it . ” In the weight class, he’s worked hard in the weight room to improve his stamina and strength, and he’s one of those kids who likes to work hard to improve. “
Instead of staying home and playing video games like some baseball players did this spring, Cass took advantage of his free time that actually got him cornered this summer.
“I’ve had more time to work on the little things in my game that made a big impact this summer,” said Cass.
Cass did exercises to optimize his throwing mechanics, gain speed on his fastball and, above all, become more precise and achieve better movement with his off-speed pitches. He now throws in the low 80 mile range.
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“I think my best skill is to control my pitches exactly where I want them to be,” he said. “Now all I want to do is hit consistently and limit my walks. I have to keep my pitch countdown low. I can do that with the movement on my fastball and prevent the ball from being hit, or hit after hit with firm contact restrict.” “”
Brandon Folsom is the sports reporter for the Times Herald. Do you have a story idea? Email at [email protected] Click here to follow him on Twitter.