Posted on March 27, 2014.
COVINGTON – For those baseball fans who love a pitchers’ duel, it appeared they were in luck St. Patrick’s Day at the Covington Baseball Field.
For two innings, Millington Trojan starter Lucas Van Emelen kept the Covington Chargers’ lineup in check hitting his targets. His Covington counterpart John Michael Spoon was cruising along sitting down the first six Trojans he faced.
“My fastball had good bite to it and my curve ball was really sharp through the first two outs,” Spoon recalled. “I threw backdoor fastball mostly tonight and my change-up was working a little bit.”
Spoon remained perfect through the night facing 15 Millington batters and retiring them all. His Covington teammates finally rattled Van Emelen in the third inning leading to six runs. The Chargers went on to win 10-0 behind Spoon’s perfect game.
“It’s still unreal right now,” Spoon said after his perfect game. “I’m trying to let it soak in a little bit.”
The senior transfer from Ripley has been pitching since he was 12 years old. He has never pitched a no-hitter or perfect game until St. Patrick’s Day 2014.
The chilly night started with both pitchers heating up the strike zone. Then in the third inning, Van Emelen was being called tight at the plate.
Back to back walks allowed the Chargers to score their first run of the game and keep the bases loaded.
Another base on balls allowed Covington to take a 2-0 lead. Two batters later the Chargers got a single that drove in two runners. When the rally finally ended for Covington in the third, the Chargers were ahead 6-0.
Covington added three more runs in the fourth inning to build a 9-0 advantage. Meanwhile Spoon was still dealing and hitting the zone with strikes.
Before the game, Spoon had a chat with his pitching coach Barry White. Known in Tipton County for his expertise, White helped the Brighton program and Head Coach Brian Oswalt for years develop arms like Garrett Perry, Jeremy White, Colter Millican, Adam Blackburn and Scott Doby. All those arms pitched on the college level.
Spoon said White’s coaching has been proven over years and he was gald to use a few pointers before the game to help throw a perfect game.
“He told me to make sure I had my fastball sharp,” Spoon said, “and keep my elbow up to make it come in tight.”
The last thing White told Spoon before taking the mound, “Nobody reaches tonight.”
“It feels pretty good to make him a prophet,” Spoon said with a smile.
Facing 15 Millington batters, Spoon struck out 12 Trojans. Spoon said he hopes his performance can spark his team to a great 2014 season.
“I believe so and I really hope so,” he concluded. “I’m excited to see what the future holds.”