“I think they are the best two pitchers in the state,’’ said Williamsport coach Rob Steiner. “To get a draw like that, and have to face a pitcher like that,” he said of Laffey, “... it’s not really much of a reward for your regular season.
“But that’s going to happen. That’s baseball. Just one or two key plays can be the difference in a game. We tried to bunt, we tried to get runners on, but at some point someone has to step up and get a hit.”
No player, on either side, was able to avoid striking out. The only run was scored by Timmy King, who took one for the team. He was hit by a pitch that hit 84 on one of the major league scout’s radar guns, stole second and eventually scored on a squeeze bunt by Justin Bussard.
“It was probably the second-best game I’ve pitched this year. The first game of the year was a perfect game, and you can’t get any better than that,’’ said Laffey.
Behind the backstop, there were major league scouts from Arizona, Baltimore, Cleveland, Minnesota, San Diego, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston and the New York Yankees.
It’s been a common sight at Allegany games this year.
“I’ve gotten used to it,’’ said Laffey. “You just have to go out and throw and have fun. Relax, and just pitch. If you do that, things will fall in place.”
It takes courage to be a catcher, especially when the pitchers are throwing 90 miles per hour. Shane McDade has been Laffey’s personal catcher, and admitted the palm of his hand was hurting a little bit as he headed to the locker room.
“Today, it was an A-plus,’’ he said, grading Laffey’s performance. “I mean, everything he threw was nasty. Everything was pretty much perfect.
“His curve ball was probably the best it’s been all year. To catch Aaron is a privilege. He’s a great athlete and a great friend. It’s a challenge to catch him, but I don’t mind. It’s fun.”
Fun to watch, difficult to believe, and impossible to forget.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Contact Mike Mathews at firstname.lastname@example.org.