MOUNT PLEASANT — Some nights you’re good. Other nights you’re on. On Monday night at Warrior Field, Wando senior right-hander Jeff Gottesman was perfect.
Gottesman didn’t allow a single hit or walk while striking out 13 through six innings of a 10-0 region win over Goose Creek.
“I established my fastball early and pretty much stuck with it the whole night,” Gottesman said. “My dad and I actually talked about a perfect game earlier this afternoon, just messing around. But I actually realized it was possible after I sat them down in order the first time through the lineup. I was confident I could beat them the next couple times through.”
Wando (13-6, 6-3) provided its ace more than enough support, tallying 11 hits at the plate without a single defensive error in the field.
Zach Owens led off the top of the fourth for Goose Creek with a shot back at the mound that tipped off Gottesman’s glove. Wando shortstop Hogan Kelly came charging in, scooped the deflection and threw out Owens just in time to preserve the perfect game.
“It’s plays like that where you might not realize how big it was at the time, but it ends up saving a perfect game,” Wando head coach Dirk Thomas said. “Jeff is confident in the guys behind him, and I think that’s why he throws so many strikes because he knows he can rely on them to make the plays.”
Leading 2-0 after three innings, Wando rode its pitcher’s momentum, pounding out three more runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and another three in the sixth to qualify for the 10-run mercy rule.
Hogan Kelly hit 3 for 3 with two runs scored. Jack DeLongchamps was 2 for 2 with two RBIs and a walk. Harrison Smith went 1 for 3 with an RBI, two runs scored and a walk.
“There’s a little extra motivation when a guy is having a night like tonight,” Thomas said. “You’re getting the effort of a championship game because they want so badly for him to get it. They’re genuinely happy to see their teammates succeed.”
This isn’t he first time Gottesman, a Bucknell signee, has stymied an opponent’s offense. Last Monday, he gave up just one hit with three walks and eight strikeouts through seven innings. He’s been lights out most of the season, boasting a 0.8 ERA with 50 strikeouts against just 13 hits and 12 walks through 35 innings pitched.
At this point in the season, every win is crucial for the Warriors. With the win, Wando stays tied with James Island just a game off of West Ashley for first place in Region 7-AAAA.
“After so many close games, every night, every game one-run, two-run games, it’s nice to be able to enjoy something like this tonight,” Thomas said. “As tight as the conference is, there’s still a lot to play for.”