“It was my first time to be on the mound at CVA, so I had some jitters going in,” Pate said. “Once I got through that first inning, I was relaxed and just kept pitching like I was supposed to.”
Pate gave up a walk that later turned into a run due to an error. The game was called after four innings due to CVA holding a 15-run advantage.
“He only threw four innings, but still, in those four innings he probably threw about 67 pitches, so he’s locating, he’s throwing strikes early in the count,” head coach Bobby Permenter said. “He’s just a once-in-a-lifetime player. He is a big plus to our team. We’re capable of doing great things, but we’ve got to buy into the little things. If they’ll buy into doing the little things, then we’ll be okay.”
It was Pate’s first ever no-hitter, something many pitchers never accomplish. Pate actually had a chance to brush up on Kingwood’s lineup because CVA opened their season 3-1 win against Kingwood.
“When we first played them, I wasn’t necessarily expecting to play them again after that,” Pate said. “I didn’t look ahead at the schedule because I was so ready for the first game. When I looked at it again and saw that we were playing, I asked coach (Permenter ) if I was going to pitch against them. I asked him in the dugout and when he told I was pitching against them was when I really paying attention to what they did and how their lineup worked.
Pate credited his infield with his success.
“My infield helped me out tremendously, too,” he said. “That was really good to have that much support behind me.”
Since the team’s sluggish 3-1 win in their opener, they have improved in each game since that time. They defeated Meadowview 10-0 in their second game.
Permenter said he’s not satisfied with how the team is playing at this point in the season. Given the fact that they won the state championship last season, his sentiments are understandable with lofty goals in place again this season.
“We went back to work Tuesday and got in the cage a good bit and kids started buying in to a different approach at the plate,” Permenter said. “It got a little bit better (Thursday), but it’s still not where I want it to be. My goal is to win the district. That way, we’ll have all our playoff games at home. That is a big plus.”
Pate said the CVA coaching staff played a big role in the players’ improvement.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work in the cages and a lot of tee work and a lot of work in the bullpen,” Pate said. “That’s helped me the most honestly.”
Pate threw four innings, striking out 10 batters and allowing two walks and one hit batter. At the plate, he was a home run away from hitting for the cycle with a triple, double, and two singles.
CVA hosts Pickens Academy today in a doubleheader with first pitch beginning at 12 p.m. CVA defeated Pickens last season during the playoffs.
“Last year, we beat them 7-0 and 8-0 at their place, so I’m sure with them coming over here, they’ve still got that in their mind,” Permenter. “They’re going to want to play better. I feel like if we play like we’re capable of playing, we’ll be fine.”
Pate understands Pickens will be the toughest team CVA has faced this season, but he also believes if CVA plays up to their abilities they will be okay.
“For the first game, we’ve got Niko Teofilo on the mound for us,” Pate said. He’s an all-around athlete. You can stick him wherever you want to and he’ll do whatever he can to be the best at it. He’s really good at anything. That’s really going to help us out a lot. Our lineup is really clicking like it should right now. We’re hoping to go out there and of course, we want to win.”