GSA Spotlight: Washington’s Joe DeMersGolden Spikes Spotlight
As the series opener against UC Riverside progressed last Saturday, Washington junior righthander Joe DeMers kept putting up zeroes. Early in the game? Zeroes. Middle innings? Zeroes. So, when UW pitching coach Jason Kelly peeked up at the scoreboard in the eighth inning, it finally started to sink in. Not only was DeMers closing in on a no-hitter, he was on the verge of recording the first perfect game in Husky history.
Perhaps no pitching coach expects his arms to record a perfect game at any point in their careers, but when the Huskies signed DeMers out of high school, Kelly envisioned being able to share many of these types of moments with the premier righty. He was expected to be an elite arm in college baseball and a total game-changing prospect for UW.
DeMers got through that eighth inning against UCR unscathed and came out for the ninth with a surprisingly low pitch count. The first Highlanders hitter grounded out to third, the next struck out looking, and the final batter of the game flew out to center field.
The impossible had been accomplished. DeMers threw a perfect game. Kelly, who recruited DeMers and has taught him tricks of the trade the last two seasons, couldn’t help but to soak it all in as the Huskies celebrated with their history-making hurler.
“It’s something I’ve never been a part of, and it’s something not something you really anticipate at all,” Kelly said. “You don’t know how you’re going to feel if it happens, but we got to about the eighth inning and then I realized this could happen. I was just excited for him, because he pitched so well.
“Honestly, from my perspective, it wasn’t all about the perfect game,” he continued. “It was about him. There aren’t many days in your pitching career when you go out there and throw almost every pitch for a strike, and throw it exactly where you want it. That performance was the culmination of a lot of hard work for Joe.”
Though some pitchers were lucky enough to pitch in warmer temperatures last weekend, DeMers did the deed in brutally cold temperatures — officially 43 degrees and cloudy in Seattle. In other words, you’d expect a pitcher to be somewhat rusty.