Westminster Christian pitcher Ryan Perez was perfect Tuesday. Again.
Perez, an ambidextrous pitcher throwing left-handed only this season while his right elbow heals from Tommy John surgery, tossed the third perfect game of his career in a Northeast Conference game against a young lineup from Alden-Hebron.
The Warriors gave their pitcher 17 runs of support in a five-inning game, though he only needed 1. The two-time IHSBCA all-stater struck out 12 of 15 batters faced. The only three balls put in play by Alden-Hebron were two infield popups and a groundout to the shortstop. He struck out the side in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
"I've seen him throw for four years and it still amazes me," said senior teammate Dylan Scully, who singled and drove in 2 runs. "He's a pitcher, for sure. He's a stud."
It was the third 5-inning perfect game of Perez's career. He threw his first as a freshman and notched another last year against Rockford East. Perez also took part in 3 combined no-hitters with former teammate Kevin Elder.
Alden-Hebron, a Class 1A public school of 136 students, had five freshmen in the starting lineup.
"I still had to throw strikes," Perez said. "That's what it comes down to. If I'm throwing balls, they're going to get walks. Their No. 3 and 4 hitters put the bat on the ball, so there's always the chance the ball could take a bad hop or we could boot it or something. You have to throw strikes and stay focused, especially when you're 10-running a team."
Perez started each hitter with a changeup the first time through the order. "Then I switched it up a bit," he said.
The lopsided result was just what the doctor ordered for the Warriors, who held a team meeting at lunchtime Tuesday to get everyone on the same page.
"They want to see changes and they're trying to get the troops rallied," Westminster Christian coach Jeff Moeller said of his seniors. "Believe it or not, this was a good game for us because we've got to get some confidence in our guys and get going. We've played teams like this and we haven't peformed. We needed something."
The players felt an airing of grievances among themselves was overdue, thus the lunchtime meeting.
"We went through some stuff; it was an attitude adjustment," Scully said. "We talked through some stuff and got some things out in the open, and today we had the best pregame we've had all season. I don't care who we played, we were going to win."
Westminster Christian (13-8, 7-1) mounted an 11-hit attack against three pitchers and took full advantage of 8 errors by the Giants (4-13). The Warriors scored 3 runs in the first inning, 4 in the second, 6 in the third and 4 in the fourth.
Ray Adame went 2-for-3 with a double and 4 RBI, leadoff man Tyler Greene went 3-for-3 with 3 runs and a run batted in, and Perez doubled and drove in 3 runs.