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Powers, Warriors outdone by Thompson's no-hitter

Aloha baseball team battles tough in 1-0 loss against Century in Metro League action

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha senior pitcher Aaron Powers threw a complete game against Century last week.

One of baseball's more sacred unwritten rules states you do not, under any circumstances, talk to a pitcher when he has a no-hitter brewing.

Don't speak to him. Don't touch him in the dugout. Barely make eye contact if at all possible to avoid interaction with the hurler lest you break his concentration or accidentally strike up a casual conversation.

So much as the mention of a no-no in such situations is sacrilegious and worthy of a team-wide ribbing and subsequent tongue-lashing from all involved. It's a time-honored tradition that dates back to the game's origination. Even fans in the stands are subjected to the silent treatment.

Had the Century-Aloha game suffered a stoppage and taken a 24-hour hiatus to complete due to Mother Nature, Century sophomore pitcher Micky Thompson would've felt might lonely on the night of May.

Through five innings, Thompson limited Aloha to just two base runners and no hits as Century nursed a 1-0 lead. And when the angry, schizophrenic skies roared above Aloha High School forcing both teams to take shelter in the gymnasium in the middle of the sixth, Thompson got the cold shoulder from his teammates. Better to be quiet than unleash the baseball gods' wrath, of course. Plus, in a one-run ballgame that the Jaguars desperately needed to stay hot and in contention for a Class 6A playoff berth, nobody was going to test fate by conversing with Thompson.

But when the two teams retook the field an hour after thunder and lightning struck across the dark gray sky, the frozen-out Thompson made sure his teammates would thaw due to his dominance.

Picking up where he left off, the left-hander sat down six of the next seven batters he faced (one of the hitters reached on a dropped third strike) to complete the no-hitter and 1-0 win over the Warriors.

"I just got in the zone," Thompson said. "It felt right — probably the best I've felt in a long time. I got into that groove where I was just locked into the glove most of the time. Honestly, it just felt like another game to me, but probably tonight I'll start remembering and be like, 'Wow.' It was awesome."

Aloha senior pitcher Aaron Powers was outstanding, throwing a complete-game, four-hitter in which he matched Thompson zero-for-zero sans one Kolby Summers' RBI double in the top of the third that ended up being the difference. The right-hander was the hard-luck runner-up in a game where baserunners were few and both hurlers were splendid.

"It (stinks) taking the loss, but I love pitching for this team," Powers said. "We kept them down to the one run. I just wish we could've gotten it done a little more at the plate today."

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha second baseman Keegan Rupe throws to first for an out against Century.

The Warriors' team defense played an important role in Powers' success all game long. Second baseman Keegan Rupe, third baseman Gage Holman, first baseman Eben Elling and catcher Josh Ashbrook all made web-gem worthy defensive plays whether it was Rupe nabbing a line drive and doubling up a Jaguar base runner at first or Ashbrook gunning down a Century base stealer at second. With Powers on point and his defense playing well above par, Aloha was able to stay in stride with Thompson and the Jaguars.

"My defense did a phenomenal job behind me," Powers said. "There wasn't much more I could ask from them. I think we can bring that defensive energy to the next game. As long as we get those bats going a little more, then we'll be good to go."

Thompson was simply too overwhelming all evening. At one point the sophomore southpaw struck out seven straight hitters en route to retiring 16 consecutive Warriors from the bottom of the first through the sixth. Thompson said his plan was to get ahead in the strike count with his tailing fastball and then fool the Warriors with off-speed stuff. And with temperatures in the mid 80s, the lithe lefty said his arm felt loose and electric.

Not even an hour weather delay, brought on by thunder and multiple bolts of lightning over AHS, could interfere with Thompson's groove.

Aloha actually had the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth after a runner reached on a third dropped strike and eventually made his way to third base. But, with two outs, Thompson struck out Rupe to strand the runner and end the sixth. And in the seventh, still nursing a slim one-run lead, Thompson struck out the first two hitters he faced and catcher Kyle Chimienti tagged out Ebling in front of the plate after the senior chopped a ball in front of the plate for the third and final out. The lack of run support did little to dowse Thompson's focus and drive.

"Truthfully I was just hoping we'd get our third out, so I just could go out there and finish it," Thompson said. "I didn't care if we got another run. I was ready to shut it down. The weather delay was hard, but when we came back out I was still feeling the groove and finished strong."

TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Century sophomore Micky Thompson threw a no-hitter against Aloha last week to help the Jags win 1-0.

The oddity of it all was ironically lost on Thompson, who mistook a previous error for a base hit and subsequent end to the blanking.

"I didn't know until after the game that it was a no-no," Thompson said with a laugh. "At the top of the seventh nobody was coming up to me. I was just like 'Hey guys!' It was fun."

With Thompson and Summers on the hill, the Jaguars have two bona fide aces who just so happen to be southpaws. And their lineup is solid throughout. Summers' RBI double that scored Thompson was Century's only run against Aloha. But there are offensive sources in the lineup like Brennan Hollowell and Chimienti, amongst others.

At 8-5 in Metro after sweeping defending league champion Westview and tied for third place in the conference standings, Century is certainly a team to keep on the radar come playoff time.

"We needed the win," Thompson said. "After beating Westview twice, this loss would've just kicked us back down. Aloha battled hard and kept themselves in it. We haven't played our best game yet. There's still a lot of room to grow: baserunning, hitting, everything. We're so much better than we've shown so far and we're trying to work toward that. We could be dangerous if we play up to our potential of what we could be."