My wife and I have an Independence Day tradition that dates back a few years. We always go to a ballgame and watch the postgame fireworks. Since I’ve been going to a lot of baseball games without her as I travel the Midwest League this season, I let her decide where we would uphold our tradition this year. She chose O’Brien Field, home of the Peoria Chiefs. Not only were all tickets half-priced, but we also could stay inside the park to watch the Peoria riverfront fireworks after the game.
Great choice, honey.
Chiefs pitcher Austin Kirk (5-5, 2.60 ERA) threw a no-hitter against the Clinton LumberKings, striking out 10 and walking two in Peoria’s 2-0 victory. He needed only 101 pitches to do it, facing just one batter more than the minimum.
Often when a no-hitter is thrown, there is a defensive play that is pointed to as one that “saved” the gem. In this game, that play was leftfielder Greg Rohan’s diving catch in the top of the 3rd inning. Interestingly, the All-Star third baseman hasn’t played much outfield this season, but he did for 60 games in Peoria and Daytona last year.
We had a great view of Rohan’s catch because we were sitting on the lawn beyond the leftfield wall, underneath one of the nine palm trees out there.
The no-hitter wasn’t a controversial one for Kirk, who dominated the LumberKings throughout the entire game. The performance was a welcome one for Kirk, who had struggled recently, including when I saw him pitch at Miller Park last week. Hopefully he will be able to build off this performance and have a strong second half.
As for me, I can now cross watching a no-hitter in person off my baseball bucket list.