HOBART -- It was the bottom of the fifth when Gavin Gallagher was made aware of the possible magnitude of the moment.
"They said if we score two runs, it could be the first perfect game in school history," the Hobart senior said.
Gallagher had set down 15 straight Westville hitters and when Jaden Deel's bases-loaded walk pushed across a run, the game was over via the 10-run rule, and the Brickies' right-hander had his place in the program record book.
"All my records indicate it's the first perfect game in school history," said Hobart coach Bob Glover Jr., who has had his fair share of mound talent in his tenure. "It's tough. You can't walk anybody, the defense has to do its job. Obviously, Gavin was great. been working with him on just trying to stay within himself and not trying to do too much. He does some things real well. He threw a lot of strikes. He was very effective. He showed what he can do if he's right, and we're hoping to see more of that."
The Kishwaukee Junior College commit struck out 10 of the first 11 Blackhawks without much complication, largely overpowering them with his fastball. All told, Westville put three balls in play and Gallagher fanned 12. Its only remote chance at a baserunner came in the top of the fifth when a grounder caromed off his glove, but it went straight to the second baseman. The ball never left the infield against him.
"I could've definitely went longer," said Gallagher. "After (Glover) said that, it would have been more pressure. I was just trying to put it there and get out. I just tried to shove it, hit the zone every spot possible. It worked real well. My fastball stayed there, same spot every time."
Gallagher pitches wearing glasses, but there was no hint of 'The Wild Thing' in his performance.
"Like I told them, that's how you have to pitch all the time, with no fear, like nobody can hurt you, even if they can," Glover said.
The perfect game was Gallagher's first at any level, though he has had a no-hitter before, striking out 17 in a travel game with the Indiana Rippers two years ago.
"At least the hat stayed on," Glover said of Gallagher's wavy head of hair.
Hobart (6-1) did the bulk of its damage with a seven-run third inning, aided by five walks, a hit batter and three Westville errors.
"The first few innings, we were right there with them, we just kind of ran out of pitching," said Westville coach Brody Kutch, whose team was playing its first game due to a COVID pause. "We were developing them on a lot of tee work, (batting practice), fundamental stuff. The plan was to see live pitching, but then the quarantine happened. Instead of throwing them into live pitching, we wanted to make sure we got the rust off and had the
fundamentals down. I thought mechanically we were pretty good, it's just the timing and seeing a live ball."
Deel drove in two runs and Ryan Ellis had two hits for Hobart, which beat the Blackhawks just in time to beat the rain. Marc Enslen scored twice.
"It was doubly hard," Glover said. "You go to bed not sure you're going to play; you wake up, maybe we will, maybe we won't. It turned out OK."