On May 25, 2010, the Montana Kalispell Lakers American Legion Baseball team kicked off the Western AA Conference season with a game against the local Glacier Twins. At the start of the game, Joe Pistorese, a 17-year-old pitcher for the Kalispell Lakers, stood on the pitching mound with one goal in sight — a win. But what Pistorese didn’t foresee was that he would be walking off the field with sweat-drenched clothes due to achieving his second no-hitter.
“I knew I was doing my job well, and I was focused on getting the win more than anything,” Pistorese said. “It felt great when I threw the last pitch to end the game, but I didn’t realize what I had done until I looked over at my coaches (Carl Hennell and Ryan Malmin) who were running the field with a cooler to dump on me.”
Pistorese pitched his first no-hitter last summer during his second season with the Kalispell Lakers — a rare success which the left-handed pitcher attributes to studying his competitors batting stance.
“Because I’ve grown up with most of the players, and I know how they bat, I’m always pretty confident with my pitching,” Pistorese said.
However, Pistorese’s confidence was tested during the bottom of the eighth inning with only one out. As a Glacier Twins player was at bat, the opposing team’s commentator announced to the crowd that Pistorese was pitching a perfect game. Immediately following the disruptive call, Pistorese pitched three straight balls to the batter. But he wasn’t going to let the commentator jinx his pitching. Pistorese took a walk around the mound to clear his head and then fired three straight strikes.
“I couldn’t believe he (the commentator) did that,” Pistorese said. “After the game when I was being interviewed by the radio, I looked back at him when I was asked if anybody was talking about it (pitching a perfect game) in the dugout. Everybody in baseball knows you don’t talk about something like that when it’s happening.”
The nine-inning game consisted of Pistorese pitching a mixture of 80-mph fastballs and curveballs, allowing zero hits, walks and errors. “His curveball was my favorite pitch to call,” said Zach Brosten, a catcher for the Kalispell Lakers.
“He kept it low and it had a sharp break, and he threw it for strikes. It was nasty.”
As a result of Pistorese’s perfect pitching and his teammates great defense, the Kalispell Lakers defeated the Glacier Twins 8-0.
“I like the competition of Legion baseball,” he said. “I love my coaches as they treat me like a friend; it’s just a lot of fun.”