Calling upon a fastball clocked throughout the game at 87-88 mph, former Payson High School pitcher Tom Canale unleashed a no-hit, 1-0 victory for California Lutheran College April 10 over the University of California at San Diego.
Canale's feat was only the eighth no-hitter ever thrown by a Cal Lutheran pitcher.
The victory, which lifted Canale's record to 7-3, was recorded in a non-conference NCAA Division III game played on the CL campus located in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Following the masterpiece, Cal Lutheran sports information officer John Czimbal said of the former Payson pitcher, "He's our franchise, our No. 1 pitcher." Canale is a sophomore at Cal Lutheran, majoring in pre-medicine.
In throwing a complete nine innings, Canale struck out 10 and walked only three.
UCSD hitters, Czimbal said, were totally baffled by Canale's heat. "About as close as they could get to a hit was an infield ground ball that was trouble, and a fly behind first base that the wind blew foul -- it could have fallen in (fair)," he said.
Cal Lutheran scored the only run Canale needed for the win in the bottom of the sixth when second baseman Ryan Yoshiwara scored on a single by Brian Malchow.
With Malchow -- a product of Lake Havasu High School --and Canale, the California team sports a definite Arizona flavor.
With the win, the Kingsmen upped their overall record to 22-7 and 13-2 in the Southern California Interscholastic Athletic League (SCIAC).
With six SCIAC games remaining to be played, Cal Lutheran is leading the standings by two full games. A conference championship would give the Kingsmen a berth in the Division II Collegiate World Series.
"Tommy Gun" stats
Canale's season-long statistics leave little doubt he is far and away the leading pitcher on the Kingsmen staff and in the conference. In hurling 78 innings, he has allowed only 52 hits, 10 earned runs and just three home runs. His credentials include 80 strikeouts, just 14 walks and a minuscule ERA of 1.29.
The next best ERA on the team, 3.04, is held by Andy Super.
Canale has drawn the starting nod eight times and has gone the distance on four occasions.
Canale's contributions, Czimbal said, have him wondering why an athlete with his potential was not recruited by PAC-10 schools like Arizona State and Arizona.
"I guess he's one of those kids who just slipped through the cracks," he said.
The major universities who didn't show much interest in Canale two years ago are now beginning to take note of him.
According to PHS baseball coach Ted Pettet, at least one university, ASU, has talked to Canale about transferring.
However, the Sun Devils, devoid of scholarships, might not be able to offer the same financial incentives --room, board, tuition and books -- that Cal Lutheran does.
Because CL is a Division III school, Canale could transfer to a Division I institution and not have to sit out a year or lose any eligibility.
Canale is 1997 graduate of PHS and a four year letter-winner in baseball. During his final three years, he earned all-division honors.
As a senior, he was all-state and was chosen to play in the Arizona Coaches' Association North vs. South All-Star game.