Monday, July 17, 2017

Lakewood's Fanti goes distance for second no-hitter of season

Nick Fanti, image- Jay Floyd
Lefty starter Nick Fanti Jr. recorded another historical moment this season, as he went the distance, shutting down the Charleston RiverDogs’ (Yankees affiliate) offense to record a no-hitter on Monday at Lakewood’s FirstEnergy Park.
 
In nine innings of work, the 20-year-old struck out 12 and walked one on 113 pitches to put his name in the history books and improve his season record to 7-2 in 15 starts. 
 
Fanti, the Phillies’ 31st round draft selection in 2015, previously helped Lakewood notch a no-hitter this season when he tossed 8 2/3 innings without surrendering a safety against Columbia on May 6th.  His roommate at the time, reliever Trevor Bettencourt, entered the game to record the final out.  Bettencourt has since been promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater. 
 
The six-foot-two 185-pounder, Fanti, stated that he received a congratulatory text message from Bettencourt after Monday’s feat and he replied, “Since you aren’t here anymore, I figured I would do it all myself!” 
 
Hailing from Long Island, Fanti’s father, Nick Fanti Sr., typically doesn’t miss any of his home starts and he happened to be on hand, along with Nick’s girlfriend, for the special outing on Monday.  The Fanti men were able to share a special embrace on the field following the game.
 
“I kind of pointed to him and I had some people clear the way for him and I made sure he got through because I wanted to give him a hug,” Fanti said, admitting that his dad seemed to be getting emotional in the moment, but was able to disguise any watery eyes behind his sunglasses.
 
In the contest, Charleston’s lone base runner, first baseman Brandon Wagner, reached with a free pass in the top of the 2nd inning. 
 
Gregori Rivero, a new comer to the team, caught Fanti’s gem in his third start with the BlueClaws. 
 
According to Fanti, he didn’t know early on that the day had the potential to be special.  His control was not on point during his pregame warm ups.
 
“My bullpen was pretty horrible.  I was pretty much all over the place and my pitching coach (Brian Sweeney) told me, ‘You know the Nolan Ryan story (about how he had a wild bullpen and then threw a no-hitter)?’  And I said, ‘Yeah.’  And he also said that to me before the last no-hitter.  And after the game today, he said, ‘You really take that story seriously!’”
 
Designated hitter Henri Lartique counted for the lone run in the victory for Lakewood on Monday with his 7th home run of the year. 
 
The effort was the second individual nine-inning no-hitter in BlueClaws history.  The previous one was tossed by former 1st round draft selection Gavin Floyd in 2002.  It was a 1-0 loss to Lexington.  Keith Bucktrot also notched one on his own, tossing a shortened seven-inning no-no in 2001. 
 
The BlueClaws (51-43 this season) will travel to Rome, to open a series begin a three-game set starting Wednesday night.   Following the road trip, which also features a stop in Charleston, where Fanti’s next turn in the starting rotation will likely fall, the ‘Claws return home for a four-game series against Hickory starting on Thursday, July 27th.
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