High School Pitcher Is Doubly Perfect

High school baseball phenom Anthony Velazquez has pitched two perfect games for Bayside High School in Queens, N.Y., this season. That appears to be a high-school baseball first.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

What a season Anthony Velazquez has already had. The young starting pitcher's thrown two perfect games in a row and if not for one errant pitch, he almost would have had a third perfect game. A perfect game is when a pitcher retires all the hitters he faces in a row: no hits, no walks, no errors, or hit batsmen. Mr. Velazquez is 17 years old. He pitches for Bayside High School in Queens, New York, and of course two perfect games in a row have made high school baseball history. He joins us on the line from Queens. Congratulations. Thanks for being with us.

Mr. ANTHONY VELAZQUEZ (Pitcher): Thank you for having me.

SIMON: Has George Steinbrenner called yet?

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: No. No. But I'm actually going to go to a Met game, and I'm going to be introduced to the crowd.

SIMON: Are you a Mets or Yanks fan?

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: I'm a Yankees fan but I, you know, I like the Mets also.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: They're pretty much my second favorite team, along with the Dodgers.

SIMON: What do you throw, Mr. Velazquez?

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: I throw a knuckle curve, a slow curve, a slider, and a two seam fastball. And a changeup.

SIMON: You're a junk baller.

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: Yeah. Yeah, you could call me that.

SIMON: So, what did it feel like?

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: At first, I really had no feeling. Like, after I threw an inside fastball, this was the first game. I threw an inside fastball to my brother, who was the last batter.

SIMON: Your brother's on the other team?

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: Yeah, he was on John Bowne. This is the first game.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: He was the last batter. He popped it up to me on the mound, and I caught it. And when I caught it, you know, I felt everything went in slow motion. I felt this slow sting go through my body. My body just, like, shut down. And I fell to my knees, and everybody jumped on me from my team.

SIMON: Uh huh. Now I guess some people would wonder, did your brother tank it for you? But I guess nobody who knows brothers would really expect a brother to do that for him, for you.

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: No, my brother really wanted to get the hit. He would have loved to break up the game.

SIMON: Tell me about that third game. As I understand it, Jamie Liebowitz' butt got in the way of your third perfect game.

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: I mean, I was thinking about it because everybody, you know, the news was there. Like, there was a lot of people there. I was thinking about it but like, you know, when I hit him, I was like, I wasn't happy that I didn't get it. But like, it relieved a lot more stress.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: I really, like, then I just to pitching. Like the only thing I really cared about was the win.

SIMON: And you threw a shutout, right?

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: Yeah. A one-hit shutout.

SIMON: Look, we've seen some pictures of you in the newspaper. Your teammates mob and clamor you. I wonder how it is at home. Something like, first time you don't pick up your socks, I mean does somebody say, oooooh, Mr. Perfect Game Pitcher, yeah?

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: I mean, yeah, it is a little bit like that, but no, I think my family's just as excited as I am. You know, they're very happy for me because I'm 5' 7". I've tried really hard my entire life, and everybody's always been telling me that I'm too small to do this, too small to do that. I've just been working really hard, and really want to succeed in baseball.

SIMON: Nice talking to you, Mr. Velazquez. Good luck.

Mr. VELAZQUEZ: It was nice talking to you also. Thank you very much for this.

SIMON: Anthony Velazquez. Bayside High School in Queens. Pitched a couple of perfect games back-to-back in this past month. Now 22 minutes before the hour.

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