Chris Hanna has solidified his reputation as the top left-handed pitcher in the state.
The Stratford senior pitched his third no-hitter of the season Wednesday when he blanked James Island, 2-0, striking out 12 batters. He had already pitched a no-hitter against Berkeley and no-hit Colleton County in a game called after five innings.
"I don't remember anyone having three in one season," said Stratford coach John Chalus. "I don't think I had a pitcher who had more than two no-hitters in a season."
Hanna's three gems are impressive. But the masterpieces are microcosms of his season. He's had pinpoint control and big strikeout numbers all season. He struck out 12 against James Island, 19 against Berkeley, and 13 against Colleton County in his no-hitters. He's pitched 41 innings and struck out 88 while walking just six. Having a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3-1 is great. Hanna's ratio is 14-1.
Hanna, the son of Mark and Laura Hanna, learned at an early age that good control wins ball games.
"I wasn't that strong growing up," said Hanna, who also played quarterback for the football team. "My dad taught me about accuracy and how important it was to throw strikes. He told me my strength would come and made me aware of how important accuracy was. I thank him for that."
Chalus said Hanna has good defensive skills at first base and is productive at the plate. He bats in the middle of the lineup, often as the Knights' clean-up hitter.
"But he's at home on the mound," Chalus said. "He's a leader by what he does, and when he's on the mound he has that poker face. He loves a challenge and wants the ball."
Hanna, who throws a fastball, circle change-up and curve, was on top of the world when he struck out 19 batters against rival Berkeley, but Wednesday's no-hitter against the Trojans meant more.
"I was proud of striking out 19 against Berkeley," Hanna said. "But I was just going out there out and doing my job. But James Island meant more. I lost to them two times this season, but I was able to come back and beat them. I want to give props to my catcher Ryan Kilgalen in all three games. I'm very proud to have him as my catcher."
The Knights collected six hits against the Trojans, including a home run by sophomore Chase Tidwell.
Hanna has been on the radar for three seasons. He's pitched in big games and faced big-name pitchers. The Knights have been playing well lately and have a formidable 1-2 pitching punch with righty Brandon Hester.
Hanna had planned to attend The Citadel, but he's now opting for Spartanburg Methodist. If he had attended The Citadel, he would not have been eligible for the major league draft until his junior year. At Spartanburg Methodist, he'll be eligible after one year at the junior college.
"Spartanburg Methodist is the place for me," Hanna said. "They have an excellent program. They have a great program and have produced some great players."