Although the dust has barely settled on Trumansburg pitcher Cam Lueder’s no-hitter last week in the season-opener against Union Springs, the lefty is already talking about how he wants to throw another one.
And if he does, it would be his third.
The Trumansburg junior, who threw his first no-hitter in Babe Ruth ball, picked the perfect time to do it again as his team was in the middle of a tight, well-pitched affair in which both pitchers went the distance. All the excitement surrounding the no-hitter overshadowed Wolves starter Alex Thorton’s 10-strikeout complete game, which the Blue Raiders won, 3-0.
Lueder walked three hitters, and one other reached first on a dropped third strike. No Union Springs base runner got past second.
Lueder struck out 15 with his three-pitch repertoire: fastball, curveball and knuckleball. He already has 29 strikeouts this year after fanning 52 during his sophomore campaign. Lueder throws about 75 miles per hour, but his knuckleball and curveball make up for his lack of overpowering velocity.
“I really have to rely on my good pitches, my off-speed pitches,” Lueder said. “I think I throw a knuckeball once or twice to every three batters. And I’ll throw that curveball all game long.”
Lueder said his main goal this season is to break the school record for strikeouts, 96, set by Kyle Kellogg in 2004.
Trumansburg’s pitching staff is shaping up to be a young, talented group. A day after Lueder’s no-hitter, Mitchell Swartwood tossed a one-hitter in a 21-2 win against Groton. Considering that Swartwood and Lueder are only juniors, they could have even more room to develop into a solid 1-2 punch for Trumansburg.
In this week’s edition of “Five Questions,” we sat down with Lueder to find out about how it felt to throw the no-hitter and his quest to break the school record for strikeouts.
You already threw one no-hitter in Quad County Babe Ruth summer league ball. What was the difference in the team behind you then compared to now?
“We are a pretty young team. We have one senior on the team and I’m a junior. Our shortstop and second baseman are freshmen. We’re mostly looking at the big picture for next year but we came into this season with high hopes. We’re having fun and going at it.”
One day after your no-hitter, Mitchell Swartwood threw a one-hitter for your team. Going forward, how excited are you about this pitching staff?
“I hope we can keep it up. We look great out there so far. I pitched (Monday) night and went to the sixth inning with three hits, and they put another kid in and he got three strikeouts. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling out there on the mound.”
As the game went on, did you realize you had a no-hitter going?
“The other team had an idea of what was going on. I know we did. It was definitely a pitchers’ duel, really fun to play. I am sure it was fun to watch. The team was all pumped up and it gave us a lot of energy. The other pitcher threw a really good game.”
After striking out 52 batters last season, you already have more than half of that total this year. How do you rack up so many strikeouts that quickly?
“I never throw that perfect strike. Once I get the batter to chase one, then I know where to throw it next time because I know he won’t touch it. You have to go out there kind of cocky. You know what you can do. You have to have a lot of confidence out there.”
What was going through your head as you took the mound for the last three outs of your no-hitter?
“The last three outs were very intense. I struck out the first batter. The next guy might have popped up, but I really remember that last batter. He was kind of a big guy and I know he could hit one real far if I put it there. I got two strikes on him, and I think it was a 2-2 count. I threw a curveball in there and caught the edge of the plate. The umpire called it a ball and everyone was shocked.
“At that point, I had a full count on the last batter and still had a no hitter in the seventh inning. He ended up fouling one off, and at that point, my blood was just pumping. I threw one more fastball — it was a swing and miss, and we all ran off the field. It was great.”