As University High pitcher Manny Miles was set to take the mound for the fifth inning of Tuesday’s matchup against Episcopal, he was stopped by one of his coaches and delivered a piece of information that hadn’t yet crossed his mind.
“Right before I went out in the last inning, my pitching coach, coach (Duane) Perry, told me that I had given up zero hits. He kind of tried to jinx me,” Miles joked.
The unintentional curse must have fallen on deaf ears. Miles proceeded to deliver yet another 1-2-3 inning, striking out the final two batters of the frame to finalize a no-hitter and a 10-0 win for the Cubs (16-4) in their District 7-2A baseball opener against the Knights (3-13).
Miles allowed just three baserunners all game, two coming on walks and another who was hit by a pitch. He improved to 5-0 on the season while throwing just 61 pitches in the process.
“I just tried to keep it down in the zone and throw the pitches that my coach calls and try to hit my spots as best as I can,” said Miles, who cited his curveball and slider as his two best pitches that afternoon. “I threw both of my off-speeds for strikes today. I just had to throw strikes and let me defense do the work.”
His defense didn’t have to do too much work as Miles struck out six batters in the game, which was called after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
Episcopal only managed to knock two balls out of the infield — both fly outs to center field — as it struggled to get anything going offensively against the hot-handed U-High ace.
“Manny Miles was very dominant on the mound today,” Episcopal coach Dan Canevari said. “He threw a no-hitter against us for five innings, but it might have been seven innings had it lasted that long. Manny was mixing his pitches well. He was throwing two pitches in the zone, and he was locating his fastball where he wanted to. I expected that kind of performance from him.”
The consistent Cub bats aided Miles’ efforts, giving their starter a safe four-run cushion after one inning. The damage started early as second baseman Brandt Broussard drew a leadoff walk to start the game.
Jake Wharton drove Broussard home one batter later on a triple deep to right field. It was the first of three hits for Wharton in the contest and the first of two RBIs the first baseman racked up Tuesday as he came a home run shy of the cycle.
U-High kept the pressure on, scoring three more runs in the opening inning thanks to a two-run single to left from catcher James Kern and another RBI single from Jake Alexander.
“When we’re the home team, we try to put some pressure on them in the first inning,” U-High coach Burke Broussard said. “It was good to get a 4-0 lead and kind of hold them down a little bit.”
It was smooth sailing from there as Miles continued to dominate as the Cub knocked around Knights starter Jason Roussel.
Roussel was never able to settle in on the mound, cycling through 46 pitches in the first inning. The lefty was pulled after two innings with his pitch count at 72, having given up five runs and three walks in the loss.
“When our ace is on the mound and they get up 4-0, it takes the life out of your sails because as good as Manny was pitching in the top of the first, our guy had to match up,” Canevari said. “Once they got the four runs, that kind of distanced us, and Jason never really got on track in the second inning.”
U-High chalked up another run in the second inning before busting out for four more in the third, thanks to two more RBIs from Kern. A 10th run in the fourth inning gave the Cubs the 10-run advantage.