Santana High School pitcher Mike Hook has been known for two things this baseball season: his fastball and his sense of humor.
Hook was all business Monday, pitching a perfect game as Santana beat Valhalla, 10-0, in Grossmont League action.
The win moves top-ranked Santana (11-1 in the Grossmont League and 19-2 overall) into first place. Valhalla (10-2-1, 17-5-1) is third.
It was the first no-hitter and first-ever perfect game for Hook (8-1).
Hook, who struck out 13 batters Monday to extend his season total to 103, has been tabbed a “flake” by his teammates and Coach Jim Saska because of his antics before and during games. He has a reputation for joking at practice and before games and having conversations with himself on the mound.
“This is the most serious I’ve ever been,” Hook said with a smile after the game. “I was very serious. I just wanted to go out and get the job done.
“I’m going to start being serious all the time . . . it works out.”
Said Saska: “He wasn’t the usual Mike Hook (Monday), he wasn’t quite as jovial. He was serious. He had a job to do and he did it.”
On his first pitch of the game, Hook forced Valhalla’s Rob Sharp to fly out to right field. He then struck out the next eight batters. Hook, who threw 57 strikes and 18 balls, threw the first 15 out of 16 pitches for strikes.
“I had control of (Valhalla) instead of them having control of me,” he said. “I didn’t want them sitting back, waiting for the fastball. If I’m ahead (in the count) I can throw either my fastball or curve. But if I’m behind, the batters know I’ll throw my fastball.”
Hook, whose earned-run average is 0.58, had only one three-ball count.
Santana scored four times in the first inning, including a two-run homer over the center-field wall by Dale Henson.
In an earlier meeting between the teams, Hook was ejected for bowling over the catcher while trying to score in the fourth inning. In the three innings Hook pitched in that game, he had a no-hitter and a 1-0 lead. But the Norsemen came back to win, 10-1.
“This meant a lot to me,” he said. “The last game (against Valhalla) we fell apart and I wanted to show them that we could play at their level.”
Said Saksa: “There was a lot of revenge in this game. . . . My boys were pumped for this one.”
Saska said he played it safe Monday by using a designated hitter for Hook.
“I don’t want (Hook) on the bases anymore,” Saska said. “I think when he is pitching he doesn’t want to hit. He would rather concentrate on his pitching. “
Hook fielded two bunts in the sixth and seventh innings to save his perfect game. In the seventh, with one out, Hook backhanded a bunt by Valhalla’s Scott Dennison and threw off-balance to get him by a step at first.
Elsewhere in the Grossmont League:
Mount Miguel 14, El Capitan 9--Mount Miguel’s Jason Stewart went 3 for 5 with four RBIs to lead the Matadors (6-5-1, 11-9-1) past the Vaqueros (6-7, 11-12). Stewart had a bases-loaded triple in the sixth. Eddie Cervantes hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Rick Wurtz hit a solo homer in the second for Mount Miguel. El Capitan’s Scott Murray was 3 for 5 with two RBIs.
Helix 7, El Cajon 6--Tim Neal singled to drive in Jerry Oedewaldt in the top of the seventh for the Highlanders (5-7, 7-13). Oedewaldt, who had two hits and scored twice, had doubled and moved to third on a passed ball. El Cajon (1-12, 1-15) had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t score. El Cajon scored their runs in the fourth. Kenny Bonilla won in relief. Terry Mack also had two hits and scored twice for Helix, which had 12 hits.
Granite Hills 17, Monte Vista 2--Jason DeGroote had a double and a homer with three RBIs as the Eagles (8-4, 12-8) beat the Monarchs (5-6-1, 10-10-1). Donnie Carroll was 3 for 4 and Todd Parker was 3 for 5 for Granite Hills, which had 18 hits.
San Pasqual 6, Poway 2--Four San Pasqual pitchers combined for a two-hitter as the Eagles (10-9-1) beat the visiting Titans (11-10). Darren Dunn and winner Clint Cruz held Poway hitless for four innings. Poway got its first hit and run in the fifth. Darby Barrett was 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Kelly Simpson, who pitched the fifth and sixth, was 2 for 3 with an RBI.