Friday night, Wadena-Deer Creek Shockers player Jordan Wohlwend did something rarely seen at any level of baseball: he stole home. It turned out to be the second-best thing he did on the diamond this weekend.
On Sunday afternoon, Wohlwend made the plate theft a footnote by pitching a perfect game, something that left area amateur baseball fans scratching their heads, wondering if they'd ever heard of the feat before, much less witnessed it.
A perfect game is a no-hitter with no walks, no hit batsmen, no errors. None of the opposing Perham Pirate players left the batters box and reached first.
Wohlwend knew early on he had his A-game.
"I kind of knew I had my stuff to start the game," he said.
An early defensive gem just added to Wohlwend's confidence. Jayme George made a diving catch in the outfield to preserve the perfect game early on.
"Our defense played great," Wohlwend said.
At first, the other players were razzing Wohlwend about the perfect game in progress, Shocker Manager Randy Jahnke said. But then it got quiet and serious.
"Everybody just kind of hushed up," Wohlwend said.
Jahnke said the team recognized Wohlwend was chasing history.
"His fastball was blazing, and his curveball just snapped -- just broke big time," Jahnke said.
The Shocker skipper said he kept the starting lineup in the game even though it was a runaway for the Shockers (they eventually won the game 14-0.)
Wohlwend said the large lead he enjoyed all game allowed him to take some chances -- throw the ball over the plate and challenge hitters. He survived a 3-2 count with a strikeout to preserve perfection.
Wohlwend's theft of home plate was one of six steals on the weekend.
"It was a wild weekend," Wohlwend said. "Something to remember."
And no one can seem to remember another perfect game in area amateur baseball. Wohlwend said he's never been in one in a game, nor has he heard of another gem. Jahnke said he's never heard of a perfect game in the league in 10 years.
There have been two no-hitters in the last two years in the HI-10/Countryside leagues, both by Fergus Falls' Jamie Jacklitch. He was nowhere near perfect in either, however.
Jacklitch struck out 19 at Pelican Rapids on May 18, 2008 as he no-hit the Lakers, but he walked 11 in the 7-0 win. He pitched another no-no on June 29 of this year against Vergas. He struck out 13 Loons, but walked 7 as the Hurricanes won, 8-0.
According to area baseball expert Ron Berns, no perfect game has been thrown in local amateur baseball in recent memory. Bob Schepper, who has been associated with the Perham Pirates for 33 years, couldn't recall the team being no-hit in that span, much less had a perfect game thrown against them.
Wohlwend recorded seven strikeouts in the game.
The Shocker team has come together, too. After falling to a 9-11 season record with a loss to the Bluffton Braves last week, the team scored 38 runs in the next three games -- all shutouts -- with two one-hitters and a perfect game. For more, see today's sports section.
John George of the Perham Enterprise Bulletin contributed to this story.