Here’s one you don’t see every day. An ace pitcher in New Jersey tossed a brilliant no-hitter … and lost the game.
As noted in this NJ.com profile of West Morris Central (WMC) pitcher Andrew Politi, earlier in the 2014 season Politi threw the first no-hitter in 25 years for the West Morris Central baseball team during a game against state powerhouse Randolph High. He pitched the game of his life, striking out seven while walking four batters.
Unfortunately, one of those four walks also came around to score. The batter who was walked in the sixth inning stole second base, then scored on an infield error. Politi got out of the inning without allowing a hit or any other damage, but the real damage was done: Randolph led 1-0, and after shutting down West Morris Central for one more frame, it escaped with a narrow 1-0 victory.
Of course, Politi did earn the no-hitter, a historic benchmark for the WMC program. It’s just that he also earned a loss, making him the only hard-luck loser among 23 pitchers who have thrown a no-hitter in New Jersey in 2014 so far. He finds himself in a situation that has been mirrored in Major League Baseball just once; by 1964 Houston Colt .45s pitcher Ken Johnson.
While Politi could have been proud of his accomplishment — and perhaps deep down he is — the pitcher outwardly spoke only of his disappointment in losing the game. He admitted that he tends to focus on his mistakes a bit too much, but only in the hopes of avoiding them in the future.
Meanwhile, his coach said that Politi’s singular focus was a measure of his maturity when compared to other athletes his age.
“Baseball has failure built into it and a lot of kids can’t handle that these days,” WMC baseball coach Dan Wydner told NJ.com. “Even the best hitters, the kids at the all-county, all-conference level, are going to fail six times out of 10.
“It’s the one sport that parallels life the most. There is failure at every turn in baseball. But you have to embrace adversity and failure, because that is what builds character.”