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The senior right-hander strikes out 12 while walking just one in the 3-0 WVL victory

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Horizon Christian senior pitcher Nathan Brucker fires in a pitch during the first inning of his no-hitter against Amity.TUALATIN — Nathan Brucker wasn't quite perfect.

Instead, he'll just have to settle for a no-hitter.

Brucker, a senior on the Horizon Christian High School baseball team, turned in a sterling performance on the mound, throwing an efficient no-hitter against Amity, helping the Hawks get a 3-0 win over the Warriors in a West Valley League game played last Thursday at Horizon Christian High School.

"This was really fun," Brucker, a right-hander, said of his first-ever no-hitter. "It was a great day."

With the loss, Amity fell to 4-6 in WVL play (6-8 overall). Horizon Christian improved to 5-3 in WVL games at that point (12-5 overall) with the win.

"This win keeps us up," Horizon Christian senior catcher Brannon Macfarlane said. "A loss would have dropped us, and it's also a good lead-up for Saturday."

Brucker, in getting his no-hitter, struck out 12 batters. Only two Amity players reached base during the contest. Warrior sophomore Russel Brown walked on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the top of the fifth inning and sophomore Brody Roberts reached on an error with one out in the top of the seventh.

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Horizon Christian sophomore shortstop Greyson Pihas reaches for the ball as Amity sophomore Russel Brown slides to second base during the Hawks 3-0 win.I had my fastball going," Brucker said. "My cutter didn't seem to feel too good, but it was working really well, so I used that to try and get them off balance, and then come back with my fastball."

"His cutter was really good, and his fastball was hitting the corners," Macfarlane said. "It's easy catching those. You don't think about it. Those seven innings went by really fast."

Brucker seemed to be poised throughout the contest, even with the no-hitter on the line.

"I tried to take my mind off of it, just taking it one at-bat at a time," he said. "I tried to keep the same mindset the entire game. After I gave up that walk, I was a little bit bummed, but after that I just took it as a regular game, and wanted to do my job."

Brucker opened the top of the seventh inning by striking out Amity senior Alex Nyseth. Roberts then reached on an error, but that didn't seem to bother Brucker. He struck out junior West Streeter for the second out of the frame, and then he wrapped up the no-hitter by striking out Brown. He was then swarmed by Horizon Christian players and coaches, celebrating the no-hitter.

"On that final out, I was just thinking 'I'm in the middle of the game, and it's just another at-bat,'" Brucker said.

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Horizon Christian sophomore second baseman Cade Tillema makes a throw to first base during the Hawks 3-0 win over Amity."That was a lot of fun, and a lot of concentration," Macfarlane said.

Horizon Christian broke a scoreless tie in the contest with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Brucker got things going with a two-out single to center field. Horizon junior Anthony Petit followed with a bunt single, with Brucker moving to second on the hit. Sophomore Cade Tillema then singled to right field, driving in Brucker for the game's first run.

The Hawks struck for another run in the bottom of the third inning. Macfarlane got things going with a one-out single to center. Sophomore Sam Romero followed with a single to left field, but Macfarlane was thrown out at third base on the play. Romero, who moved to second on the throw, then scored when Amity committed an error on a grounder by junior Cole Armstrong, pushing the lead to 3-0.

The Hawks got their final run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Brucker singled to right field to lead off the inning. Brucker then moved to up second when Amity committed an error on a bunt by Petit. A sacrifice bunt by Tillema got Brucker to third base. Brucker then scored on a squeeze bunt by junior Luke Klein, wrapping up the scoring in the Hawks' 3-0 victory.

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Horizon Christian senior Nathan Brucker is greeted by his teammates and coaches following his no-hit pitching performance against Amity."This was a lot of fun," Macfarlane said. "It's always great to get a couple runs, get a couple hits and catch a big game."

"Our defense has been doing really well, and they did a great job for me today," Brucker said. "I couldn't ask for more from our defense."

On Saturday, Horizon Christian was edged 6-5 at Dayton in 10 innings.

The Hawks will be back in action on Tuesday, when they play at Sheridan in a league doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. On Thursday, Horizon Christian will host Santiam Christian in a WVL game starting at 4:30 p.m.

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