July 16, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Liberty High School graduate Tim Lincecum throws no-hitter
After seven years in Major League Baseball, Liberty High School product Tim Lincecum has accumulated his fair share of accolades.
The San Francisco Giants pitcher has won two Cy Young Awards, given to baseball’s best pitcher, two World Series championships and has appeared in four all-star games. He had not, however, thrown a no-hitter, despite the fact that he had come close a few times.
That all changed July 14, when Lincecum used a whopping 148 pitches to no-hit the San Diego Padres on the way to a 9-0 Giants victory.
“I’m kind of speechless right now,” Lincecum said in a postgame TV interview.
The 148 pitches was a career high for Lincecum, who came into the game with a 4-9 record and an ERA above four. After a stellar start to his career, Lincecum began to struggle in 2012 and into 2013, but the 2003 Liberty grad, nicknamed “The Freak,” was back to form against the Padres.
The performance, said current Liberty softball coach and former Lincecum teammate Zach Bartholomew, would hopefully allow the star pitcher to get his stride back.
“I was happy for him,” Bartholomew said. “I think it’s a great start for him to get back on track and get back to what he does best, and that’s striking people out.”
Lincecum ended the game with 13 strikeouts and has collected 125 this season. While he succeeded in getting batters out at the plate, Lincecum also had help from his defense, which recorded a handful of superb plays to maintain the no-hitter.
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval snagged a sharp grounder in the seventh inning and made a long throw to first base for the out. An inning later, outfielder Hunter Pence made a spectacular diving catch, robbing Padres hitter Alexi Amarista of what appeared to be the team’s first hit.
Prior to the game, Lincecum’s career-high pitch count was 138. He beat that by 10 pitches in the no-hitter, but that did not affect him, he said in the postgame TV interview.
“I felt fine out there from the first pitch, maybe just a little sweaty, but other than that I felt great,” he said.
When the TV announcers asked Lincecum if he could remember the last time he threw a no-hitter, he responded that he could not, though he opined it must have been during his high school days.
“Yeah, they’re only seven innings though,” he said. “It’s a little easier.”
Lincecum threw a couple of no hitters during his time at Liberty. In March 2003, he recorded his first career high school no-hitter as a senior, striking out 16, defeating Interlake. He did it again in April 2003, striking out 13, defeating Bellevue, 9-0.
“Every time that he was on the mound, we would know that great things were going to happen,” Bartholomew said. “The whole thing back then was that we had a great team atmosphere and everybody trusted everybody, and he was a huge part of it.”
That team went on to win the 2003 state championship.
Lincecum continued his baseball career at the University of Washington, where he earned the 2006 Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s best amateur baseball player. That year, he also combined with Nick Hagadone to throw the Huskies’ first no-hitter since 1969.
He was drafted 10th overall by the San Francisco Giants in the 2006 MLB draft.
“I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him,” Bartholomew said. “He was a great kid growing up and a good friend. Off the field, he’d be there if you needed him. I have nothing but respect for him.”