WHY HUTCHINGS WAS SELECTED:
Coal City sophomore pitcher Payton Hutchings had a game Friday that most people can't achieve even in a video game. Hutchings threw a perfect game against Beecher as the Coalers won, 11-0. That feat is amazing enough, but Hutchings struck out all 21 batters he faced in the seven-inning victory, a state record. To top off his week, he went 2 for 2 with a double, triple, two RBis and three runs scored in an 11-1 win over Prairie Central on Monday.
Morris Herald-News sports writer Rob Oesterle talked with Hutchings.
Oesterle: Can we assume everything was working for you Friday?
Hutchings: Yeah. I threw mostly fastballs, but there were a few times where guys fouled a couple off, so I threw a curve to change things up.
Oesterle: Have you ever had a game like that before?
Hutchings: I have thrown a perfect game before, but I have never had one where I struck out every batter.
Oesterle: When you were warming up, did you feel like you had good stuff?
Hutchings: I felt like my fastball was good, and I had a pretty good curve in the pen. Once the game started, I just kind of got into a zone and every pitch went where I wanted it to.
Oesterle: Was there a point when you realized that you had struck everyone out?
Hutchings: Probably about the fifth inning. It was a 0-0 game through four innings, so I was just concentrating on keeping my team in the game. After we took the lead, I started to feel a little nervous.
Oesterle: Your team's defense is very solid this year. Does that make it easier for you on the mound?
Hutchings: Yes, it does. It is nice to know that I don't have to strike everybody out. Our guys will make the plays. The weird thing is that if I am not trying to strike out every hitter, the strikeouts seem to come easier.