It was supposed to be a simple tune-up for the home stretch. Just a couple of innings on the mound to stay sharp.
Instead, Los Altos junior Alex Reelfs made it impossible for his coach to make a call to the bullpen.
Who in their right mind would lift a pitcher in the middle of his second no-hitter of the season?
“The original plan was l just said, ‘Hey, Alex, do you want to get some work in?’ ” Los Altos coach Gabriel Stewart said. “And I was thinking, ‘Oh, he’ll throw two or three innings.’ But then once we saw how he was going and we realized he has a chance to make some incredible history here, not only for himself, but for his team, we let him go.
“And he was all in for it, and he made history.”
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander tossed a no-hitter in the season opener, a 4-0 victory over Gunn in which he needed just 92 pitches to strike out 13.
Saturday in San Jose against Branham, he only struck out four, relying on his defense for 15 groundouts for another no-no in the 6-0 win.
“Last time, I was just cruising through with a lot of strikeouts,” Reelfs said. “This time, I came into the game and was only supposed to throw three (innings) to get me ready for this week. But through the fifth inning, when I had the no-hitter, they just let me keep going.”
“Our defense just kept making play after play, after play after play,” Stewart said. “He just never gave them an opportunity to square the ball up, and even the last two outs, those were the only fly balls of the entire game. Two flyouts to center, that was it. Before you knew it, no-hitter.”
Except, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
“I was awfully sore in the back of my shoulder muscle, because that was our first game in a week,” said Reelfs, who has four complete games in eight starts. “Usually when I go 94 pitches, it’s fairly easy. But this time I was really struggling, trying to use all my legs, everything I can.”
Unofficially, the 17-year-old sports a 1.04 ERA for the season.
That’s because his eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball on April 6 against Mountain View won’t count until the game resumes this upcoming Monday in the bottom of the ninth, with Los Altos up 1-0 and Reelfs in line for the victory.
“They’re the home team, so they have three outs to do something,” Stewart said. “So we’ll see.”
Against Branham, which won the Central Coast Section Division II title in 2014, Reelfs cruised through the first four innings.
But with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, he hit a batter and walked the next hitter.
“At that point, if he gives up a hit, I’m pulling him out immediately,” Stewart said. “But then he got the guy to hit a little comebacker on a 3-2 pitch, and after that it was pretty much 1-2-3, 1-2-3.”
A steady mix of his fastball and splitter kept hitters off balance.
Reelfs (5-2) helped his cause by going 2 for 4 with two doubles and a RBI, while teammates Max Higareda and Simon Heck each crushed a ball over the fence.
The only surprise after recording the 21st out was the reaction of the Eagles (12-7-1).
“It was really interesting,” Stewart said. ‘I don’t know if the guys deliberately did this, but it was more like, ‘Yeah, we’re used to this now.’ And we basically went and shook hands, a couple of guys went up and said, ‘Good job.’ I, myself, just went and said congratulations to his mom.”
“The first time was something else,” Reelfs said. “But then this time, I know my team definitely expects it out of me, or knows that I can. So it’s not a surprise to them.”
And how did he celebrate a second no-hitter within a two-month span?
“I just really iced myself and relaxed my muscles in the hot tub, big time,” Reelfs said.
“I cannot remember, within my memory, anyone throwing two of them in one season,” Stewart said. “It was almost like we are just kind of in shock — it’s like, ‘Whoa!’ Some people go through an entire high school career and they never see a no-hitter, period. Now we’ve had a guy on our team who’s thrown two. We were almost in awe.”