St. Raymond couldn’t have kicked off its baseball season better than with a flawless first outing – a perfect game by senior starter Jeancarlos Bonilla.
Sophomore Justin Torres was 2-for-3 with two RBI in the 3-0 home CHSAA win over Cardinal Spellman on April 1. However, it was the pitchers’ duel that brought the excitement. Bonilla finished the game with 13 strikeouts, keeping the pressure on hitters by getting ahead in the count early on.
“My team and I worked hard in the offseason,” Bonilla said. “I just kept thinking of that and kept going, saying in my mind, ‘One more inning, one more inning.’”
Bonilla would power through to the end, but not without a small scare in the seventh. He would end up falling to a three-ball count at one point, which St. Raymond coach Marc DeLuca admitted was the one point in the game in which he was even nervous. Bonilla was too.
“I was a little nervous,” he said. “I just stayed with my mechanics. We were up 3-0. I had nothing to lose and I wanted to attack the hitters.”
Bonilla would, of course, bounce back and keep the perfect game alive. Behind every pitcher is a flawless defense, helping secure a perfect game. Bonilla had encouraging words for his teammates, reminding them to stay aggressive and always be ready. However, you don’t actually utter the P-word.
“You don’t say anything,” DeLuca said “You just let it go. It’s one of those things where everyone knows what’s going on, but the superstition of us athletes is just don’t talk about it. It’s like an unwritten rule.”
No words were needed, given Bonilla’s performance. He had control of his fastball, curveball and changeup, all while entrusting the defense behind him to make plays by pitching for contact.
“The pitching coach and him were on the same page the whole time and there really wasn’t a lot to do but watch and admire the performance,” DeLuca said, “Anything we called he threw it and threw it well.”
The Ravens were a young team last year that struggled often. They hope to build off their experience last year and get the program back on the right track. St. Raymond won the CHSAA Intersectional title three years ago.
“I feel like we’re athletic, young and we have a lot of speed,” Bonilla said. “Our defense is way better so I feel confident as a pitcher because I don’t have to worry about striking guys out.”
According DeLuca, his players are very hungry, the seniors especially. Perhaps nobody is hungrier than Bonilla given his first performance of the spring. When asked what Bonilla had going so well in the flawless outing,
DeLuca responded with one word: “Everything.”