By: Daniel Goffenberg
Canadian Baseball Network
Pitching in a must-win game for Quebec, with his team only managing one run against the Futures squad, Mathew Deneault-Gauthier had to be good.
He was just that and more, throwing the first no-hitter of the tournament, striking out nine and walking three going all seven innings.
The 2016 MLB Draft prospect credited his defence with helping him get through the game.
“I just wanted to throw strikes as best as I can, they made the plays behind me,” said Deneault-Gauthier. “It was a lot of fun.”
The game’s only run came in the bottom of the second.
Quebec third baseman Marcel Lacasse hit a single to right field, which was followed by Pierre Oliver Antoine’s walk.
With the two on, designated hitter Jeremy Gonthier hit a hard shot to centre, but a strong throw by Kurt Dawkins nailed the lead runner at home, leaving runners on the corners and two outs.
A wild pitch by Futures starter Ben Abram allowed Antoine to score. Abram went four innings giving up three hits and one walk while striking out four in the loss.
He was relieved by Harley Gollert who struck out three in two perfect innings.
The Futures team and Quebec are now tied with two wins apiece. The Prairies came into the day leading Group B with two wins of their own, and they play the 1-2 Atlantic team later in the day.
The top two teams move on to the semifinals.
But the story of the morning was Deneault-Gauthier’s performance.
Having already struck out the first two batters in the top of the seventh, up stepped Rhys Cratty looking to end the no-no.
He hit a slow roller down the line at third that just rolled foul. Deneault-Gauthier took a deep breath.
“I didn’t want (it) to end like this,” he said after the game. “I mean if I’m going to give up a base hit, I mean, give it up like a line drive and not a little flare down the line.”
Deneault-Gauthier regrouped and struck out Cratty for the game’s final out. The 17-year-old recently finished playing for Canada at the U-18 IBAF World Cup in Osaka, Japan.
He also played at Tournament 12 last year, where he pitched four shutout innings in the final for the championship-winning Quebec team.
This year the righty seems to be relishing his opportunity to be one of the stars of his team, the nerves of the situation not getting bothering him one bit.
“(I) don’t really feel the pressure at all,” he said. “I mean when you come back from team Canada, there’s a lot more pressure there than there is here.”