On Saturday, August 21st, Jacob Belecky of the 15U London Badgers was on the mound versus the Oshawa Legionaires. Inning after inning, Belecky threw zeros on the scoreboard with dominating stuff. With his 11th strikeout, Belecky finished off his no-hitter and marked another check-mark off his pitcher bucket list. One of the PBLO Players-to-Watch going into the season, Jacob Belecky is on his A-game as his team heads into the 15U Championship Weekend.
“This start was a lot of hard work paying off,” Belecky said in an interview when discussing his no-hit performance. “[There was] almost a sigh of relief that I was able to finish the no-hitter and lots of excitement.” This is Jacob Belecky’s first no-hitter of his young career, getting the chance to experience the highs that very few pitchers will ever get to experience, no matter the age level.
Sometimes, a pitcher knows they have their top-level stuff during their bullpen, or if it has the potential to be a miserable day on the bump. Despite this feeling, pitchers have had no-hitters and perfect games after abysmal pre-game bullpen sessions. “My bullpen was nothing special but, once the game started everything started to click,” Belecky said. “My breaking ball was on point. I could throw it for a strike when I needed to and for a strikeout.” The Badgers’ pitcher had all of his pitches working — fastball, changeup, curveball mix — on this special Saturday afternoon.
Once the game got underway, Belecky was in the zone. He said he realized he still had a no-hitter in reach during the fifth inning, however — just like most pitchers — Belecky said that he tried not to focus on that aspect of the game and simply go out there and pitch. And pitch he did. An even more challenging feat is that Belecky had to keep his wits about him as the game was tied for most of the afternoon. It wasn’t only the no-hitter that was at stake, but one poorly aimed location could have meant the Legionaires lead.
Almost all no-hitters have some sort of remarkable display of defensive ability to keep it alive. While there may not have been any diving plays, Belecky and his team took advantage of aggressive baserunning to get key outs. “There were no highlight reel plays but two that were crucial,” Belecky described. “In the 4th, I picked of a runner at second for the second out and, my catcher caught a runner stealing in the 7th for the second out. Stewie [Nolan Stewardson] called a great game.” When the final out was made, the two teammates embraced at the mound, showing pure joy from the hard work over the past two hours.
With the 15U Championships beginning Friday, Belecky is in his finest form at the best time of the season. “My stuff going into championship weekend is great and I have a lot of confidence in all of my pitches,” Belecky described. The 15U London Badgers are the 4th seed, putting them in the middle of the pack. However, with another start of the caliber Belecky showed last weekend, the Badgers could easily surprise the heavy-hitters at the top of the standings.
To keep up to date on the action this weekend for the 15U & 16U PBLO Championships, tune into the PBLO Instagram and Twitter for updates and highlights.