PINEIRO NO-HITS COCONUT CREEK

For Immediate Release
September 3rd, 2004

Coconut Creek— Every star professional athlete has his defining day, and today was that day for Joel Pineiro. The 25-year-old Chicago right-hander plowed through the Coconut Creek Crushers- owners of perhaps the weakest lineup in all of the Mid-West Baseball League – to record his first career no-hitter in a 6-0 Mobsters victory before an electric crowd of 25,016 at Kaufman Stadium.

Joel Pineiro
(9-10)  4.42

Pineiro’s no-no was the first in Mobsters history and the first in the Mid-West Baseball League since Hollywood’s Brad Penny dominated the Buffalo Braves on July 3rd. Ironically, the only previous nine-inning no-hitter at Kaufman Stadium, was pitched by Roger Clemens on June 2nd, 2004.
That Pineiro’s performance came against the Coconut Creek Crushers (27-114 overall) didn’t make it any less special. Adding to the late-inning tension of a no-hit possibility was the fact that the game remained close, only 3-0 heading into the top of the 9th inning. The Mobsters put up 3 more runs in the top of the 9th, leaving Pineiro alone at the far end of the Mobsters dugout for far longer than he wanted to be.
In the ninth inning – with fans standing and making the kind of noise than hasn’t been heard at Kaufman Stadium at all this year – Pineiro quickly retired Billy McMillion and Tony Batista on ground balls with just four combined pitches. He then walked Lance Nix after working a full count, missing the plate by inches on consecutive two-strike pitches. This set the stage for Jonny Gomes. Gomes took the first pitch for a ball before flying out to center to end the game. Vernon Wells, fittingly made the final putout, as he helped Pineiro preserve the no-hitter not only with his ninth inning homer, but with a fine catch on a deep line drive by Chris Singleton in the seventh inning. That play wound up being the Mobsters most difficult out of the day, as Pineiro rolled along smoothly and confidently in his best pitching performance to date.
Interestingly enough, Pineiro (now 9-10, 4.42 on the season) did not have terrific control of his devastating roundhouse curveball today, but he did manage to mix a slow curve and ultra-sharp fastball with deceptive off-speed pitches to thwart off Coconut Creek at every turn. In some instances, Pineiro simply varied the height and location of his pitches to keep the Crushers off-balance. He threw hard all day, however, as his fastball was still topping out at 94 mph by the seventh inning. In all, Pineiro threw 108 pitches, 72 of which were strikes.  Pineiro racked up eight strikeouts and walking only four batters on the afternoon as further proof. – Wilkerson the most dangerous hitter in the Crushers Lineup – went 0-for-1 in the game, popping out in the third, and only producing two walks otherwise. His at-bat in the fourth represented the Crushers’ best chance to score on the day. However, Pineiro bore down and got the out, albeit a deep drive that Bobby Higginson snagged right in front of the fence in right field. Nonetheless, the visitor’s threat had ended, and the Crushers would not even remotely threaten the Mobsters again until Nix’s walk with two outs in the ninth inning. Before issuing that free pass, Pineiro had retired 15 straight batters.
Lost in Pineiro’s accomplishment was a terrific outing by Crushers righthanded starter Danny Graves. Graves (2-16) pitched a strong five & a third solid innings, allowing only seven hits and the two earned run while striking out three and walking three. Luis Vizciano and Shane Nance pitched the sixth, seventh, and eight innings for the Crushers, respectively. In addition to his HR, Wells also singled off of Nance, and McDougal.
  All in all, today was a day for the ages at Kaufman Stadium, a fitting tribute to the fans and longtime followers of the Mobsters and Crushers. Pineiro’s no-hitter will now go down in the annals of Mid-West Baseball League history and will surely be remembered as one of the greatest single performances ever by a Mobster pitcher.
On a more immediate note, there is no telling what a game like this could do for the confidence of the ball club. The win helped the Mobsters improve to 11-3, in their last 14 games, moving the team to within only five games for the American League Wild-Card leader Virginia sluggers. Only time will tell what Pineiro’s no-hitter could mean for the Mobsters in the long-run, but for a team in search of a catalytic defining point, it certainly won’t hurt.

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