As opening nights go, the production that the San Rafael High baseball team staged on Thursday was beyond good. In fact, it was perfect.
With junior right-hander Taylor Kyle retiring all 15 batters he faced for a perfect game, the Bulldogs opened the 2013 season with a 10-0, five-inning victory over Marin Academy at Albert Park. Understandably, it was the game of Kyle's life.
"I was just working on pounding the zone, pitching strikes, just get ahead in the count and get the first out," Kyle said. "I wasn't really worried about anything else, but I'm glad it happened."
"Before the game I told him to just pound the zone and pitch to contact and he did," San Rafael catcher Chris Dallara said. "The defenseworked well behind him and he threw his curveball for strikes most of the time. I just told him to get that fastball and hit the corners; work inside-outside and pound it and he did a very good job."
Kyle finished with nine strikeouts — he struck out just 12 in 162/3 innings last season — and never allowed Marin Academy to hit the ball out of the infield. The closest the Wildcats (1-1) came to getting a runner was when Peter Schneider was out at first on a close play after hitting a slow chopper to third baseman Teddy Simpson in the fourth inning.
"Everything was working tonight," San Rafael coach Aaron Kolotkin said. "That play at third by Teddy Simpson was a beautiful baseball play. It was a slow chopper,
The Bulldogs also made a few plays on offense to account for their 10 runs. San Rafael had six hits, was patient enough to draw four walks and also stole five bases. That offensive showing included a two-run double by shortstop John Robertson during a four-run third inning.
But the story of the game no doubt was
"This is exciting," Kyle said. "To get to start the first game and throw a perfect game is great. I threw a two-hitter when I was in eighth grade in juniors but nothing close to a perfect game. It feels great."
"He hit his spots well," Marin Academy's Schneider said of Kyle. "He had a slider that he threw at the right time and he knew what he was doing. He threw the ball well."
And Kyle left Kolotkin smiling.
"There's no better way to start a season than a 61-pitch perfect game," Kolotkin said. "I mean, what are you going to do? What are you going to say? That was amazing."
"It's going to happen sometimes," Marin Academy coach Justin Hawkins said of the perfect game. "It wasn't disappointing. ... (Kyle) was pretty good. I could imagine he's going to be fairly successful against MCAL guys. He looked like he kept the ball pretty low and was hitting his spots all night. He's got a good little slider."