When J.T. Zerr tossed five innings without allowing a hit on April 9, it was a momentous occasion for the Colby baseball team.
Zerr gave the Eagles their first no-hitter in over a decade during a 10-0 run-rule win over Scott City.
A week later against Goodland, things got surreal for the Eagles.
Mason Wright made it back-to-back no hitters during a 10-0 win over Goodland this past Tuesday. The no-hitter streak reached a remarkable three games in the nightcap of the doubleheader after Zerr followed suit in a 14-0 win.
In all, Zerr and Wright combined for 15 hitless innings during the three run-rule wins.
“To have one was a pretty cool deal,” Colby coach Rick Williams said. “Then when we had two in a row, my radio guy asked if that had ever happened in Colby, and I was certain it hadn’t. Then we threw a third one. Definitely didn’t see that coming.”
Williams said Zerr and Wright pounded the strike zone during the no-hit streak. Zerr notched 20 strikeouts during his two outings while Wright struck out five in the first game against Goodland. The pair walked just four during the 15 innings.
“We throw a ton of strikes. Mason Wright has walked two guys all season,” Williams said. "…He’s a strike-throwing guy. They put a lot of balls in play but he creates a lot of weak contact by just throwing a ton of strikes.
“And then J.T. did the same thing. The key was probably getting ahead and throwing that first-pitch strike."
Williams said the Eagles’ defense helped preserve the no-hitter streak.
“You try not to talk about it or think about it,” Williams said. “It was crazy because we actually made a couple of really good defensive plays to preserve the no-hitter in the first game and then we made one pretty good one in the second game. You think of those plays later.
“It’s weird to sit there and think about it. Of course, no one wants to talk about it or anything, worried we’re going to jinx it and all those things.”
Williams also credited Colby standout catcher Tucker Branum for playing a key role in the feat.
“We have one of the best catchers in the state in Tucker Branum,” Williams said. “He caught all three of them. He does such a good job. He’s been starting since he was a freshman and I haven’t called pitches for like three years because he does such a good job. I don’t even call them from the dugout.
“He has an integral part of that, and then you have pretty good defense. It was cool for Mason and J.T. to throw three no-hitters in a row, but it was definitely a team effort.”
The no-hitter streak ended this past Thursday against Class 6A Garden City, with the Indians taking 10-0 and 13-3 losses. Wright and Zerr were unavailable to pitch in those games.
Zerr is 3-1 in five appearances on the season with a 1.45 ERA. Wright sports a 1.08 ERA and 3-1 record in four outings.
The Eagles, a member of the Great West Activities Conference, sit 6-5 on the season but four of the losses came at the hands of bigger schools in Hays High and Garden City.
“The nice thing is we’ve had these good pitching performance against teams we’re probably going to see again,” Williams said. “These teams are in our regional. Hopefully that builds confidence and we just kind of keep that rolling. We play some tough out-of-league games, so it’s nice to get in our conference and play real well, whether it’s great pitching or great defense or getting the bats going.”