Morris delivers rare perfect game |

Morris delivers rare perfect game

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

If there was anything imperfect about pitcher Joel Morris’ performance on Saturday it was the strikeout the got away.

Morris struck out 17 of the 18 batters he faced in throwing a perfect game for the Marlins in a South Tahoe National Little League major baseball game Saturday.

“It feels good,” said the 12-year-old Morris. “(My goal) is to throw 18 strikeouts in a game this year.”

There are differing views among league volunteers as to when the last perfect game was thrown.

“I don’t remember a perfect game being thrown in decades,” said Marlins’ coach Joe Delallo. “The last one I remember being thrown was in the late ’60s by Rick Green. We’ve had a lot of no-hitters, but a no-hitter isn’t a perfect game.”

Little League President Jerry Weldy was in attendance.

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“I can’t remember a perfect game having been thrown for a while,” said Weldy, who had the pleasure of keeping the scorebook for the game. “He was poised and in the zone.”

The only ball the Reds hit in play was a comebacker to Morris, who made the necessary throw to first base for the second out in the sixth inning.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but it was an easy (play to make),” Morris said.

The Reds hit two foul balls — one in the fifth and one in the sixth.

“All of the kids were backing away from him. I told him to just go after them,” said Marlins’ manager Steve Weldy.

Morris said he threw a no-hitter last year, but his control kept him from perfection.

“I had two or three walks,” he said.

Steve Weldy said there is a simple reason why Morris has become such a dominant pitcher.

“He practices hard,” said Weldy, who estimates that Morris’ fastball crosses the plate at 65-70 mph. “His dad gets him out there and they work.”

Morris concurred with his manager.

“My dad has been helping me a lot,” he said.

According to Delallo, the 5-foot-9 Green was almost unhittable more than three decades ago. He reportedly averaged 15 strikeouts per game and only surrendered three hits for the season.

Morris was scheduled to pitch on Thursday night, but lingering snowshowers may delay his next pitching assignment until 9 a.m. Sunday against the Giants.