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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Plant City girl, 12, pitches second perfect Little League game

For the second time in less than a year, 12-year-old Chelsea Baker has accomplished one of baseball’s rarest feats.

After throwing a perfect game June 30, the Turkey Creek Middle School seventh-grader did it again April 9.

The Plant City Little League pitcher’s first perfect game was during a 21-0 rout of North Lakeland. The latest came during a game in which she struck out 16 of 18 batters in six innings to defeat J.R. Farms, 1-0.

Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: April 22, 2010 at 03:05 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: amateur

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   1. bob gee Posted: April 22, 2010 at 05:42 PM (#3510906)
at least this time she pitched to the score.
   2. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: April 22, 2010 at 05:43 PM (#3510907)
She probably doctored the ball with cooties.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: April 22, 2010 at 05:46 PM (#3510910)
In the photo she appears to be throwing a knuckleball. And to have stolen Eric Gagne's goggles.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: April 22, 2010 at 05:48 PM (#3510912)
Oh snap!

She learned her knuckleball from former major-leaguer Joe Niekro, a Plant City resident who died in 2006.
   5. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 22, 2010 at 05:49 PM (#3510913)
She probably doctored the ball with cooties.

Post of the year.
   6. plim Posted: April 22, 2010 at 05:54 PM (#3510919)
With a 70-mph fastball...


wait, she throws 70 mph, at 12 years old?!
   7. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: April 22, 2010 at 05:57 PM (#3510921)
Cue baseball chick to tell us how she could make the major leagues if only the system wasn't conspiring to keep her out.
   8. Select Storage Device Posted: April 22, 2010 at 05:59 PM (#3510924)
Cue dick.
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:03 PM (#3510931)
wait, she throws 70 mph, at 12 years old?!


I think that's a forward projection.

Still cool as hell, though. I hope she makes it.
   10. BDC Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:04 PM (#3510935)
She learned her knuckleball from former major-leaguer Joe Niekro, a Plant City resident who died in 2006

I feel an after-school movie coming on.
   11. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:08 PM (#3510939)
wait, she throws 70 mph, at 12 years old?!



I was thinking that's what they clocked her at from 46 feet.
   12. RollingWave Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:08 PM (#3510941)
wait, you can still play little league in 7th grade? , also, there are a TON of (nomrla) grown up males that can't throw 70 mph.
   13. jacjacatk Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:09 PM (#3510944)
wait, she throws 70 mph, at 12 years old


70 at 12 isn't all that rare, and that's without accounting for youth radar inflation. For that knuckler to work as something other than a changeup she'd have to have some velocity, though.
   14. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:12 PM (#3510946)
wait, you can still play little league in 7th grade?


Well, if they go by age, 12 would be the operative number, rather than grade. That's how my old league did it (I would've turned 12 a couple of weeks into the 7th grade, so my least season was the following summer), though to my knowledge we weren't actually affiliated with the official Williamsport people. (Of course, we wouldn't have been playing in April, either; the season was limited to summertime.)
   15. devo Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:12 PM (#3510948)
wait, you can still play little league in 7th grade?


Hell, Little League has a division set up for sixteen to eighteen year olds. In a stunning display of creativity they named it "Big League".
   16. Fanshawe Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:12 PM (#3510949)
I can't wait to see what happens when her team plays Zombie City.
   17. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:18 PM (#3510955)
She learned her knuckleball from former major-leaguer Joe Niekro, a Plant City resident who died in 2006


Also, this is too great for words, almost.

Especially when you consider that she would've been, what, 8 at the time.

An 8-year-old throwing a knuckler! My faith in humanity is restored!
   18. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:19 PM (#3510956)
Hell, Little League has a division set up for sixteen to eighteen year olds. In a stunning display of creativity they named it "Big League".


Big League was awesome. Our team was made up of kids who didn't make the high school team, didn't like the high school coach, or didn't have the grades to play. It was as close to pure baseball as you could get.
   19. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:22 PM (#3510967)
In my hometown, baseball for the post-12-year-olds was called Pony League ... though, y'know, looking back, I think I only ever vaguely heard about it. I sure as heck never knew where they played, anybody who participated, etc. Maybe it was discontinued by the time I grew out of little league ... though that seems less than likely, since my high school didn't have a baseball team till my senior year, some 4 years later.

I'm now starting to think that some sort of conspiracy was afoot, & that the first rule of Pony League was that you didn't talk about Pony League.
   20. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:24 PM (#3510969)
The Plant City Little League pitcher’s first perfect game was during a 21-0 rout of North Lakeland.


Glad he left his ace in with a 21-run lead. You never know.
   21. tfbg9 Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:41 PM (#3511000)
Any smart GM would have her locked into a long term deal already.
   22. sinicalypse Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:43 PM (#3511003)
if lou pinella were managing her team she'd be a setup girl.
   23. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:44 PM (#3511005)

I feel an after-school movie coming on.


Don't let your kids hang out with Niekros (or they might start throwing a knuckleball)?

You'd have to enunciate that very carefully, of course.
   24. CWS Keith plans to [omitted] at [omitted] Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:45 PM (#3511010)
Twenty-three posts in and no Rob Neyer quip? I'm disappointed...
   25. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: April 22, 2010 at 06:51 PM (#3511015)
My buddy once named our fantasy league p3wny league.
   26. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 22, 2010 at 07:17 PM (#3511067)
For that knuckler to work as something other than a changeup she'd have to have some velocity, though.

Why? A pitch that moves unpredictably and ends up in the strike zone as often as not is effective as more than a change of speed. Tim Wakefield's doesn't have to set up his knuckler with that 73 mph heater. Or at least he didn't used to.

And no, she is not throwing 70 mph now. She's in the mid-sixties, which is good but not extraordinary for LLers. The guys who strike everybody out in the LLWS are throwing in the high 70's. At any rate, I'm not sure that I buy the contention that "With a 70-mph fastball and a knuckleball, she can play in college." If her fastball is only 70, then the knuckler is going to have to be her primary pitch (which if you RTFA it certainly isn't now). If the knuckler is her primary pitch, then she'd get hammered in Babe Ruth league any time she fell behind and had to groove a fastball. I watch guys who throw 75 with good off-speed stuff get lit up in HS games every day if they can't get the off-speed stuff over the plate.
   27. AndrewJ Posted: April 22, 2010 at 07:22 PM (#3511076)
With a 70-mph fastball


Thus making her overqualified for the Phillies bullpen.
   28. DL from MN Posted: April 22, 2010 at 07:44 PM (#3511106)
How many dropped 3rd strikes? I feel a little sorry for a 12 year old catcher who has to deal with a 70 MPH heater and a nasty knuckleball.
   29. bfan Posted: April 22, 2010 at 07:49 PM (#3511110)
TFA doesn't say how long the 1st perfect game was, but I hope at some point the mercy rule was invoked on the 21-0 game; should have been after 4 innings, or maybe even after 3.
   30. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: April 22, 2010 at 07:55 PM (#3511115)
It's not really a knuckleball. She's loading up the ball with "Hello Kitty" stickers.
   31. jacjacatk Posted: April 22, 2010 at 08:01 PM (#3511121)
Why? A pitch that moves unpredictably and ends up in the strike zone as often as not is effective as more than a change of speed.


Because a knuckleball doesn't really do much but float/drop until you get into at least the mid-50s/low-60s. Might need to be faster from 46'. That said, it could certainly make a good changeup even without Wakefieldish action.

Also, she can't be throwing a real knuckler to a 12-year old catcher and have 2 perfect games. Even if they don't require a third strike to be caught, she'd have had to walk someone if she threw it more than occasionally, I'd think.
   32. Shock is here live. Shock is not a cat. Posted: April 22, 2010 at 08:28 PM (#3511150)

Twenty-three posts in and no Rob Neyer quip? I'm disappointed...


I was actually impressed.
   33. bfan Posted: April 22, 2010 at 08:40 PM (#3511160)
Even if they don't require a third strike to be caught,


If they are playing by little league rules, a third strike does not have to be caught.
   34. bond1 Posted: April 23, 2010 at 12:46 AM (#3511452)
I remember Little League strikes zones very liberal.
   35. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 23, 2010 at 01:46 AM (#3511600)
Even if they don't require a third strike to be caught, she'd have had to walk someone if she threw it more than occasionally, I'd think.

bfan answered the first part. TFA answers the second -- she does only throw it occasionally.

a knuckleball doesn't really do much but float/drop until you get into at least the mid-50s/low-60s. Might need to be faster from 46'

There's a kid who played against my son in LL who threw a knuckle ball as his off-speed pitch when he was a twelve year old. His fastball was probably just a tick under 70 back then, and his knuckler danced plenty. Just as harder to catch as it was to hit. So anyway, I guess I'm just not getting why you seem to think that a mid-sixties fastball isn't a strong enough arm to throw a mid-fifties knuckle ball.
   36. phatj Posted: April 23, 2010 at 02:16 AM (#3511656)
Thus making her overqualified for the Phillies bullpen.

I realize this is just a throwaway joke, but what? There are four (healthy) guys in the Phils' pen who throw mid-90's gas. And if Romero and Lidge come back fully healthy that's two more.
   37. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 23, 2010 at 02:23 AM (#3511664)
So anyway, I guess I'm just not getting why you seem to think that a mid-sixties fastball isn't a strong enough arm to throw a mid-fifties knuckle ball.

Where did he say that?
   38. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 23, 2010 at 02:42 AM (#3511676)
[3] Two different posters involved, but first you have the claim that the knuckler is really just a changeup unless the kid "has some speed" (in response to a post that quoted 70 mph). Then there's the comment that this is because the knuckler "doesn't do much" if it's thrown with less than mid-fifties velocity. Seems perfectly reasonable to draw the conclusion that I did, although I will grant that it's possible he just didn't read the prior posts carefully enough to realize what his comment would imply about fastball velocity and knuckleball movement in the context of what preceded it.
   39. jacjacatk Posted: April 23, 2010 at 03:21 AM (#3511694)
To clarify, my original post was in response to someone who seemed to be surprised that she could throw 70, and my comment was meant to imply that 70 was probably inflated, but for a knuckler to actually work she'd have to actually throw reasonably hard, else the knuckler speed wouldn't be sufficient for it to actually break.
   40. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: April 23, 2010 at 06:41 PM (#3512187)
An 8-year-old throwing a knuckler! My faith in humanity is restored!

Even Amanda Wurlitzer couldn't do that!

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