WOOD STRIKES OUT 18 IN MOBSTERS’ WIN

For Immediate Release
September 6, 2004

  Coconut Creek— Everything was working for Kerry Wood yesterday, even the September heat.  Wood struck out a Mid-West Baseball League Record 18 — the most in the MWBL since May 4th, 2003 when Curt Schilling of the New River Road Runners, when Schilling stuck out 18 Tempe batters. Wood tied Schillings record, leading the Chicago Mobsters to a 5-0 victory against the Coconut Creek Crushers at Kaufman Stadium.

 Kerry Wood
(11-10)  3.41

This place, with day games & the heat, hitters can’t see the ball,” Chicago catcher Brandon Inge said. “I was proof of that, by going 0-for-4.” Inge also struck out once, but it was all the strike 3’s that landed in his mitt that made this game so memorable.
“He woke up with phenomenal stuff,” Chicago manager Kirk Gibson said of Wood.
“I usually don’t get to many chances to start on a extra days rest. It worked out pretty cool, though,” said Wood, whose previous career high was 17 strikeouts against Oregon July 6, 2002.
Wood (11-10) threw a two-hitter in his fourteenth career complete game and struck out six of the last seven batters he faced — including all three in the ninth.
He was as efficient as he was effective, throwing just 116 pitches, 91 for strikes. He threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of the first 20 hitters he faced.
“I’ve seen some pretty good outings, but that’s definitely got to be the most impressive,” teammate Chipper Jones said. “He was just power all day, using his fastball, curveball, just mixing pitches. It seemed like he didn’t throw a ball all day.”
Wood fanned every Crusher starter including Singleton, Wilkerson, and Nix three times.
Wood surrendered a double to Billy McMillion in the sixth, the first hit of the day by the Crushers, then retired 3 more Crushers in a row before walking Henry Blanco in the seventh — only the second walk of the game for the right-handed Wood.
With the shadows cutting right across the mound, Wood struck out the side in the fifth and was one pitch from repeating the feat in the seventh when Jack Cust tagged an 0-2 delivery for a clean single up the middle. Wood struck out three more in the eighth, and three more in the ninth, for his record tying 18th strikeout of the game.
“The way he was pitching, he could have thrown a no-hitter,” Jones said. “When people pitch like that, there’s nothing you can do. I just wish he could have gotten one more K, to hold the record himself.”
Crusher manager Jack McKeon twice went out in the ninth to let plate umpire Doug Eddings know that he thought he was giving Wood too much of the outside part of the plate.  Still, McKeon was thoroughly impressed by Wood, who used his curveball as an out pitch like never before. “He was very-very good. He was outstanding today,” McKeon said. “He had everything today. Our reports were good on him. He probably had the best breaking ball we’ve seen all year.”
With the unusually high heat index today, the weather played a factor here in Kaufman Stadium and that’s a devastating concoction.  “When this type of heat wave comes around, it’s definitely tougher,” Jones said. “You saw the at-bats weren’t as good once the heat started to take its toll on the players. Luckily, we scored four runs before the heat got out of control. Once Kerry saw the heat getting to the Crushers, he started pounding strikes home pretty good because it was a lot tougher for guys to hit in that heat.”   The heat index at Kaufman Stadium rose to an unusually high 118 degree’s on the playing field in the 8th inning.
Crusher’s right-hander Jake Peavy (6-15) had the heat affect him too. After facing 29 batters through six-plus innings, he had to leave the game because of heat exhaustion. “It took its toll on all of us today” Peavy Said.
The heat even took its toll on Wood, who was given fluids after the game for dehydration. “The game was kind of a blur,” Wood said. “But it was a fun blur.”
Just like his pitches that befuddled the Crusher all afternoon.

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