Who knows what memories lie ahead in life for brothers Jake and Chris Whetstone. One that almost certainly will endure occurred on May 30, 2013 at Ed Walter Park in Mt. Carmel - the night the pair combined to make local baseball history.
Jake, 13, pitched what is believed to be the first-ever six-inning Major League perfect game in the 61-year history of Mt. Carmel Little League.
His younger brother Chris, 11, was right there for every pitch as his catcher on the Mt. Carmel Chiropractic team which defeated Short-Cunningham 6-0.
Whetstone struck out 13 batters, including the last seven he faced. There were only three ground balls and two fly balls.
As he recorded the final of 18 consecutive outs to achieve perfection, there was no huge ovation for Jake. He admitted that “almost no one” in the stands knew what had happened. But, his coaches and teammates knew. So did brother Chris, who said it was exciting “to catch (Jake’s) perfect game.” A celebration quickly formed.
Considering the thousands of games that have been played in the Major League division through the years in Mt. Carmel, could that really have been the first perfect game ever thrown? Local sports historians have been mulling it over for days and have yet to come up with the name of another pitcher who has recorded such a feat.
Manager Todd Gill says it’s a distinct possibility this was a first.
For starters, you are dealing with “11 and 12 year olds,” he said. To expect not a single hit or walk or a single mistake in the field at that age and experience level is a lot to ask for. “It’s not common to see that happen,” Gill said.
No wonder Gill was at a loss for words when addressing his team after the game. “You don’t know what to say,” he said, admitting to being “almost a spectator instead of seeing it as a coach.”
Gill said the team signed a game ball, then labeled it so Whetstone would always have a commemorative ball marking the occasion.
Jake first thought about the possibility of a perfect game “in the fourth inning,” he said, but continued on his quest “to get outs.”
Gill said the team began to catch on, too, and the coaches of both teams “were chit chatty” about the prospects.
As the sixth and final inning approached, Whetstone said he did not feel any extra pressure. S-C had the bottom of the order due up, and all three struck out to end the game.
Make no mistake. Jake may be the older brother and the pitcher, but as the catcher Chris still called the game. He knew that Jake “was pitching better than normal,” and that his fastball in particular was working wonders. Jake never once shook off a sign, Chris said.
Whetstone was also aware of his pitch count, and that had some bearing on the team.
He could not throw any more than 65 pitches or the team would be unable to use him on the mound as soon as Monday because of Little League rest requirements.
After all, there is a pennant race going on.
But Jake needed only 62 pitches to record his gem.
The very first out recorded was perhaps the toughest one of the night.
S-C leadoff hitter Dalton Farrar sent a liner into center that Tyler Beavers made an outststanding catch on, or history might never have been made.
“I thought it was a hit,” Jake Whetstone said. Echo brother Chris. Echo manager Gill.
Now the question is, can he do it again? Even Jake Whetstone must know how long those odds are. He didn’t have an answer, but did manage a smile just thinking about it.