The buzz, naturally, surrounds Buchanan High’s Jack Wheeless as he opposes Clovis West Tuesday night after throwing consecutive no-hitters against Central and Clovis East.
The junior left-hander will arrive for the 6:30 p.m. Tri-River Athletic Conference game at Stan Bledsoe Field with a 9-0 record, 0.37 earned-run average and having pitched 15 2/3 innings without giving up a hit.
A one-out, sixth-inning single to Clovis’ McCarthy Tatum on April 3 was the last hit Wheeless has surrendered.
Fine, but don’t forget about the other guy.
It was almost a year ago to the day — April 24, 2012 — that Clovis West’s Marco Pierce exploded onto the scene by delivering four innings of perfect relief in a 4-3 win at Buchanan.
Pierce, who had pitched only seven innings before that game, struck out nine, including the last eight batters he faced.
Seven months later, he was signed a substantial scholarship to play for the University of Oregon.
And, Tuesday night, the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder will take the ball in what promises to be a pitch-for-pitch duel with Wheeless.
Pierce is 7-2 with a 2.40 ERA, and is 9-2 in two seasons, having struck out 91 with only 23 walks and 53 hits allowed in 72 1/3 innings.
The Golden Eagles’ cleanup batter is also hitting .338 this season with seven doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs
“Marco’s having a great year,” Clovis West coach Kevin Patrick says, “and everytime he goes out, it’s been in pressure situations. I know he’ll focus on what he can control (against Buchanan). Maybe the pressure will be on (Wheeless).
“Obviously, Buchanan is a great rival, and rightfully so. Our kids are excited. They are starting to play at a higher level and with more confidence.”