Last weekend, the 18U and 16U Oshawa Legionaires had incredible displays on the mound as Owen Jennings and Ryan Stec both threw their first career no-hitters in their blowout wins. Dominating with the fastball was a theme in both outings as well as being around the zone all game. It’s not every day that the same organization gets to celebrate multiple no-nos in a single weekend, but the Legionaires got to take part in that rare event.
Owen Jennings was the winning pitcher for the 18U Legionaires as they defeated the Kingston Junior Ponies 16-2 on Saturday. Over the five innings, Jennings had five strikeouts and two walks. “I didn’t know it was a no-hitter until after the game was over and looked at the stats,” Jenning said when reflecting on his performance. With such an offensive explosion, Jenning surely felt that the quicker he could get his 11-1 Legionaires back to the dugout to hit, the more momentum would be in their favour.
Jennings was painting his spots throughout the zone, throwing only 65 pitches in a very efficient outing. The control of both of his major pitches was the main reason for Jennings’ success versus the Ponies. “Fastball control and placement was a big thing I worked on this off-season so I was happy to see it paying off. My curveball was working as well using it late in counts to get swing and misses for strikeouts.” After the game, Jennings got a call from his college coach from Antelope Valley who congratulated him after hearing the news.
For the 16U Legionaires, Ryan Stec went up against the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians, blanking them by a score of 10-0. Stec put up identical numbers to Jennings, striking out five Canadians while walking two over 71 pitches. “In the bullpen, I was locating my fastball really well, and it carried into the game so i only really used fastballs all game long,” Stec said. There’s the saying to throw your best stuff until the other team adapts, and Stec’s fastball was untouchable Sunday.
Stec shared his success with the rest of the Legionaires, putting his defence behind him at the forefront of his outing. “I pitched really well due to our team’s great defence — I know I can trust them to make any play so I felt confident all game.” Along with the amazing players around him, Stec made sure to stay mentally sharp on the mound to not let the moment overtake him. “I kind of kept it at the back of my mind and tried not to get ahead of myself so I didn't overthrow and make a bad mistake.”
Both Legionaire pitchers were dealing on the mound before the mercy cut the games short, making it very interesting to speculate on how the remaining two innings would play out in a standard game length. Both teams are back in action this weekend versus the Sudbury Voyageurs and a rematch between the Kingston Junior Ponies, making these series of games exciting to keep an eye on to see how long Jennings and Stec can keep their no-hit streak alive.