Thursday, April 11th, 2024

A perfect start to the season

Celina's Steinbrunner having historic run on the mound

By Gary R. Rasberry
Photo by Nick Wenning/The Daily Standard

Celina junior Brady Steinbrunner has started the baseball season at 3-0 with a no-hitter and perfect game in consecutive starts.

The start of the 2024 baseball season for Brady Steinbrunner has been nearly perfect.

The Celina junior has started out 3-0 on the mound, but his last two games have been especially stellar.

On March 30, Steinbrunner pitched a no-hitter -his first ever - in beating New Bremen 3-0 at Montgomery Field. Then, after rain hampered much of last week's schedule, Steinbrunner took the mound Saturday in the final game of the Bulldog Classic at home with New Haven and retired all 15 batters in Celina's 13-0 five-inning victory to record a perfect game.

That made him just the 22nd pitcher, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association record book, to have thrown consecutive no-hitters.

"It doesn't even feel real, honestly," said Steinbrunner. "It's hard to think about it. Someone like me from Celina, I'm the 22nd pitcher from Ohio, considering some of the other schools. It's a great feeling, but it's hard to put into perspective how truly impressive that really is."

In his first start of the season against Fort Recovery, Steinbrunner retired the first six batters in order, then gave up a walk.

"It's funny. I walked a guy, and one of the guys in the dugout said something to me about the losing the perfect game because I walked someone. It was in my head, like, 'You have to be kidding me!'" said Steinbrunner. "I go out the next inning and the first guy got a hit. I was mad. I let the guy know, 'Next time that happens, don't say anything.'

"Next two starts, he didn't say anything."

Against New Bremen, Steinbrunner walked four, but struck out nine as Celina played error-free baseball.

A week later against New Haven, Steinbrunner struck out the side in the bottom of the first and then struck out five more, getting eight of the 15 outs in the game via the punchout.

In the last inning, Steinbrunner had two straight strikeouts followed by a grounder to second, where Brodee Schulte-Arnold threw the ball to Ethan Bryant at first to complete the 51-pitch (39 for strikes) perfecto.

"I knew the possibility was there," said Steinbrunner of his perfect game. "But I was really focused on pitching and not what I have done so far in the game.

"In the no-hitter against New Bremen, I was nervous for being in that (situation) for the first time," he added. "Against New Haven, I didn't really think about it. I was just out there having fun."

In 18 innings this season, Steinbrunner has allowed just the one run against Fort Recovery, giving him a 0.39 ERA, with two hits and eight walks while striking out 23.

He has now has gone 14 1/3 innings without allowing a hit, last allowing a hit in the fourth inning of the opening game with Fort Recovery. He last allowed a walk to start the fifth inning against New Bremen before getting three outs, putting that streak at eight consecutive innings.

"I was really focused on beating every batter with every pitch, not whether I was getting a no-hitter," said Steinbrunner.

Last season, he went 1-4 on the mound for the Bulldogs, but had a solid 2.48 ERA with 43 strikeouts.

The main thing he worked on to prepare for this season has been the mental portion of the game rather than anything physical.

"It was working on not getting all worked up if I walked a batter or getting upset if I give up a hit," said Steinbrunner, who is also producing at the plate, hitting .364 with a double and six runs batted in. "This year, I decided to challenge myself and went out for wrestling. That toughened my mental state coming into baseball. I realized failure is going to happen. So when I give up a hit or walk, I didn't lose my cool on the mound, and stay cool, calm and collected to get the job done."

As his next appearance comes up, Steinbrunner plans to focus on just doing what he can.

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"Every game is a new game. There's different talent, new talent," said Steinbrunner. "I just go out there and do the best I can. If I throw a no-hitter or perfect game, it's a great accomplishment to add my resume. Every day I just go out and do my best."

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