Coral Springs Charter pitcher tosses 20 strikeout no-hitter
Coral Springs Charter’s A.J. Prendergast was as close to perfect as you can get fanning 20 batters in a recent 6-0 victory over crosstown rival Coral Springs High School.
Prendergast, 16, a Coral Springs resident, pitched a complete game no-hitter and faced just one batter over the minimum in a near-perfect bid as he didn’t walk or hit any batters. The only Colt to reach base (Christian Perez) did so via catcher’s interference in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The effort enabled Coral Springs Charter to hand the Colts (5-1) its only defeat of the season. The Panthers are 6-5 this season.
“Going into the day, it felt like any other day coming out of the pen,” said Prendergast, whose only other career no-hitter in little league or high school came in a 3-inning, 24-0 win over Piper last season. “It turned out to be a better day than most thought it would be. It was huge. It was definitely something to celebrate.
“When I was on the mound, I just focused batter to batter,” he said. “I was more worried about going pitch to pitch.”
For the season, Prendergast is 4-0 and has struck out 56 batters in 28.1 innings. He has walked three batters, hit two batters and has a 0.74 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. He was unfazed by the catcher’s interference that kept him from a perfect game with 21 Ks.
“That’s baseball and stuff happens,” Prendergast said. “It was an outside pitch and I missed in. The kid’s swing was long and it wound up hitting the catcher. It was not on the catcher; there’s was nothing he could do about it. It was a sensational game call by my catcher and coach. It definitely helps my confidence.”
Coral Springs Charter third-year coach Charlie Fine said his team graduated 11 seniors from last year’s team and another transferred so Prendergast has emerged as a team leader this season.
“We are down 13 guys from last year’s team and A.J. is one of the only returners and he has set a great example for the players on and off the field,” Fine said. “He takes a lot of the pressure off the other guys.
“Last year, he was the young guy on the pitching squad and was behind four seniors,” he said. “He had found his role and worked very hard at it. There are very few people working as hard as he does and it is nice to see.”