2011 Top Sports Story No. 7: Double no-hitter ends in Mercy win

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Bishop McGann-Mercy pitcher Pat Stepnoski fell two walks shy of a perfect game.

No-hitters in baseball are a rarity. Double no-hitters are almost unheard of.

A Google search indicated that there has never been a double no-hitter in the major leagues. A search of The New York Times’ archives found that, although minor league records are incomplete, there are two recorded instances of double no-hitters at the minor-league level — in 1952 and 1992.

And then there was the double no-no that Bishop McGann-Mercy and Greenport shared on April 12, 2010, at Greenport High School. Fans might have anticipated a pitcher’s duel when McGann-Mercy’s Pat Stepnoski and Greenport’s Shaun Hansen were paired up against each other in the Suffolk County League VIII game, but no one could have predicted what they would see.

Both pitchers fired no-hitters and the game’s only run was scored on another rarity: a steal of home plate.

Tom Kretz of Mercy was responsible for the run, stealing home in the second inning. He had drawn a one-out walk before stealing second base, third and then home. When catcher Michael Reed threw the ball back to Hansen after a pitch, Kretz broke for the plate and made it easily. The right fielder had four stolen bases on the day.

Not even wet conditions (a light rain fell early and late in the game) prevented the two pitchers from shutting down the opposing team’s bats.

Stepnoski, supported by errorless defense behind him, fell two walks shy of a perfect game. The junior right-hander threw primarily fastballs with a couple of sliders, and fired 13 strikeouts. He was economical, needing only 86 pitches, 54 of which were strikes.

“It was, bar none, the best he has ever looked,” said McGann-Mercy coach Ed Meier.

Hansen, a senior right-hander, had to work a little harder. His 115-pitch performance featured 11 strikeouts and three walks. He mixed two-seam fastballs with curveballs.