BASEBALL: A perfect exit

Michael Hartman, left, and Tyler Price are the only pitchers to

Pitchers responsible for only perfect games in GHS history both
graduating.
Some people spend half of their life in pursuit of perfection, usually falling well short of the technically impossible goal. However, only in baseball can a person be classified as perfect.

Earlier this month, Oakland Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden retired 27 out of 27 Tampa Bay Rays he faced en route to the 19th perfect game in the 100-plus years of Major League Baseball. Definitely a rare and celebrated feat.

Over the decades of the Gilroy High School baseball program, only two perfect games have been recorded – as best current GHS manager Johnny Ramirez and athletic director Jack Daley can tell – and both pitchers are graduating this year.

Senior Michael Hartman, who silenced Alisal High School on April 21, 2009, needed just 34 pitches to earn the first-ever perfect game in GHS history. His teammate, Tyler Price, oddly enough, tossed his perfect game also against the Trojans earlier this season, 13 months after Hartman’s gem.

“My defense totally helped me out. I only had two strikeouts and something like 13 ground balls,” Hartman recalled Wednesday as the team gathered to turn in their jerseys.

Hartman said former GHS manager, Clint Wheeler, informed him after the game that his no-no was the first in the program’s history.

“What’s crazy is that that was the first perfect game and then one year later Tyler does it,” Hartman added.

Though both games were called after the top of the fifth inning to enact the 10-run rule, the aura of a perfect game can’t be overshadowed by the amount of innings. Hartman and Price couldn’t help that the Mustangs scored a combined 23 runs in the two games.

“To throw a perfect game everything has to work that day,” Ramirez said. “Everything has to be lined up. To have two perfect games for the same school in back-to-back years is special. I hope they always remember that.”

A plaque commenmorating Hartman’s performance sits in the trophy case inside Bob Hagen Memorial Gymnasium, prompting Price to ask:

“Hey, where’s my plaque?” he pondered jokingly as the two posed for their celebrity-esque feature photo earlier this week.

Price fanned seven Trojans during his path to perfection March 19.

“It was definitely one of my personal highlights,” he said. “It gave me confidence to know that I am capable of doing that.”

It is a unique record to leave behind and one that is permanent in the history books.

“It’s kinda cool that it was back-to-back years and that we are in the same class,” Price said.

Hartman will attend Chico State, his playing days in both basketball and baseball concluded, ironically, with losses to Serra High School in both sports. Even with the urging of Ramirez to walk-on, Hartman is content with focusing on his education.

Price hasn’t decided which junior college he will choose, but will continue to pursue baseball. He has had interest from three junior colleges, Hartnell, Cuesta and Cabrillo.

“I wasn’t really expecting to be contacted,” Price said. “My numbers were a lot better and I had a lot more innings this year. Johnny (Ramirez) helped me out with getting in touch with schools.”

No matter what lies ahead for the right-handers, their moments of achievement atop the mound will forever be a reminder of their careers as Mustangs.

“It will always be here. ‘Michael Hartman threw a perfect game,'” Hartman said. “I can tell my kids or whatever. I don’t know. It’s cool.”

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