Baryski hurls no hitter in 10-0 victory over Milton

James Cullinane

A Rebel pitcher deals to an opposing player

During a spring marked by excellence on the diamond, Rebel senior hurler Mike Baryski etched his name into Walpole baseball history books with a performance for the ages.  On a warm mid-May afternoon, Baryski took the mound for the sixth time this season, squaring off against the Milton Wildcats.  What would subsequently occur was one of the brightest moments of the Rebels’ impressive 16-1 campaign, as Baryski dazzled the Wildcats with a no-hit shutout.

Behind the plate for the Rebels was senior Dan King, a three year starter for Coach Bill Tompkins.  King, who has been catching Baryski for over a decade, commented on his battery mate’s performance: “I knew from the start that he was on.  He’s always good but his control was off the charts.  He could throw any of his pitches for a strike on every count.”

Baryski’s elite command of his pitches produced rare results, as Milton batters futilely flailed at pitch-after-pitch. When asked what gave Baryski the ability enduce so many swinging strikes and ground balls, King said, “He pounded the strike zone from start to finish.  He mixed his pitches well and painted corners.  He was completely unpredictable.”  Because of his masterful control and King’s nearly perfect game plan, Baryski consistantly kept Milton batters off balance throughout the game, picking up five strikeouts along the way.

As Baryski continued to roll on the mound, the relentless Rebel offensive attack began to do some damage of their own.  With the Rebel lead building, the attention of those in the stands and on the bench turned toward Baryski’s quest for the ever-elusive no hitter.

“For me, it was about the fourth inning that I started to catch on,” said senior outfielder Mike Demers.  “People started talking a little bit about it on the bench, but nobody wanted to be the guy who jinxed it.”

For Baryski however, the fear of jinxing his performance never crossed his mind: “Up until the sixth inning, I never really thought that the game could get called off early.  That took a lot of pressure off because I thought I had three more innings to go.”  Behind the high powered offense, Walpole took a 10-0 lead in the sixth that put the slaughter rule into effect, leaving only one more inning between Baryski and baseball royalty.

As most would assume, having two outs in the last inning of a no hitter is one of the most mentally demanding circumstances that sports has to offer.  According to Baryski however, past experiences assisted him in remaining calm and collected in this high pressure situation: “I had pitched a no hitter for my AAU team when I was thirteen, so I had an idea of what would be going through my head.  At that point in time, I was actually more focused on getting that out to end the game, rather than finishing off the no-no.”

Remaining composed, with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Baryski induced a lazy fly ball to junior center fielder Mike Rando.  What ensued was a scene of utter jubilation.  As Baryski was mobbed by his teammates, the crowd arose to give the senior hurler a fitting ovation.  Demers, one of the most gregarious characters in the Rebel clubhouse, fulfilled the obligation of one of sports’ greatest traditions, dousing Baryski with the team’s Gatorade cooler.

When asked what he will remember most about his phenominal performance, Baryski said, “Definitely celebrating with my teammates.  Every team says it but we really are like a family.  They were all just as happy as I was.”  Any spectator who sits behind the Rebels’ bench on the third base line at Eldracher Field understands this sentiment, as cheers erupt from the bench frequently during every game.

Baryski, the most experienced varsity starting pitcher, thrives in big games; for this reason, he will be getting the nod against Norwood in the annual battle of the Bay State at Balch School.  The Rebels, behind Baryski’s 3-0 record and 2.57 ERA, will rely heavily on their senior ace come playoff time.