The Lakeland Mirror

Perfect: Junior pitcher Lee Chepil’s gem makes history

Danny Spatchek, Staff Reporter

Lee Chepil forgot his own glove, but that didn’t stop the junior pitcher from tossing the best game of his career.

Chepil threw what is believed to be the first perfect game in Lakeland baseball history, retiring 21 consecutive Maranatha Baptist hitters en route to an 18-0 win shortened by the 10-run-rule on Saturday afternoon in Watertown, Wis.

The game was the first in a doubleheader swept by the Muskies, now 4-2 in Northern Athletics Conference play.

Chepil’s teammates ignored him in the game’s final innings, a tradition when a pitcher has a no-hitter going. Chepil was unable to contact his parents after the game to inform them of the accomplishment.

Chepil, who struck out eight Crusader batters in the game, was ecstatic following his second win of the season.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” said Chepil. “I was nervous because the guys weren’t talking to me at the end, so I had to seek them out to talk to someone.

“It was crazy when it was over … there was so much elation and it was just unbelievable. This ranks at the top of my career.”

Chepil said he first realized that he was throwing a perfect game in the sixth.

“I knew I was throwing a no-hitter, but I didn’t realize it was a perfect game,” Chepil said. “I tried not to think about it.”

Lakeland coach Chris Thousand, who has now been a part of three no-hitters as a player and a coach, ranked Chepil’s perfect game alongside his other experiences.

“Lee had great location on his fastball and it was overpowering at times,” Thousand said. “Everyone was on their cell phones calling everyone they knew because they knew they had been a part of something great.

“I wanted to allow the players to celebrate because a situation like that is such a rarity,” Thousand added.

A total of 13 Muskie hits gave Chepil run support to spare. Sophomore shortstop Brad Young led Lakeland with four hits, two runs, and an RBI. Every Lakeland batter recorded at least one hit.

In the second game, Lakeland used a three-run eighth inning sparked by hits from sophomore second baseman Ryan Polizzi and freshman left fielder Mike Huber to overcome a 1-0 deficit en route to a 3-1 win.

Thousand commented on the pair’s performances.

“Ryan’s double to left-center scored our first run,” Thousand said. “He had a lot of confidence in his swing all day.

“Mike didn’t start, but entered the game and immediately had a clutch hit. He’s a guy who loves to hit in those situations.”

The Muskies stranded 14 runners during the game, but the combination of freshman starter Garret Morris and sophomore reliever Jeremy Williams gave up just three Maranatha Baptist hits.

“Garret started his second game of the season and threw the ball well,” Thousand said. “Jeremy has been throwing great all year for us and he came in down 1-0 and threw great again.

“Overall, the pitching was great on Saturday. The defense was great behind our pitchers and we gave up three hits in two games,” Thousand said.

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Danny Spatchek, Editor in Chief

Editor-in-Chief

Before he became editor, Danny Spatchek was a staff writer, sports editor, and managing editor of The Mirror. He’s written about sports...

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Perfect: Junior pitcher Lee Chepil’s gem makes history