Abington High senior pitcher Aidan O’Donnell started Thursday’s game by hitting the first East Bridgewater batter he faced. It was the only Viking that reached base all day.
O’Donnell retired the next 26 batters in order – with help from an inning-ending double play that erased that initial base runner — to record his second no-hitter of the season, as the Green Wave defeated their league rivals, 2-0.
It was O’Donnell’s second no-hitter of the season. He previously blanked Norwell on April 26 as part of an 8-0 Green Wave win.O’Donnell is the first Abington pitcher with two no-hitters in a season since 2003, when C.J. Hillyer accomplished the feat.
O’Donnell said his goal was to get ahead in the count, stay ahead, and let the other eight guys make plays.
“We arguably have the best defense,” he said. “I have full confidence in everyone. I just try to get outs.”
Until the 5th inning, the game was a scoreless pitcher’s duel between O’Donnell and East Bridgewater starter Ray McNaught, who threw a no-hitter of his own last week against Rockland. But Abington used a bunt, gap double, and wild pitch to push across two runs in the bottom of the fifth. O’ Donnell said he was confident his team would come through offensively.
“I know my boys would get me some runs,” he said. “It was a scrappy game. This was a team win. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
Head Coach Steve Perakslis said O’Donnell was actually just two pitches away from two perfect games: the hit batter against East Bridgewater, and a single fielding error against Norwell.
O’Donnell needed just 70 pitches to strike out 10 Vikings, behind a good fastball and a nasty, moving change-up. He hasn’t let up a run in three consecutive starts now; in between the no-hitters, O’Donnell threw a complete game shutout May 5 against Mashpee.
Before his starts, O’Donnell said he puts on headphones, listens to rock music, and just gets mentally prepared.
“I just say to myself pregame, ‘I just want to dominate them.’ I’m kinda intense,” he said. “I don’t say a word pre-game, I just do my own thing, the same routine everytime.”
Perakslis said O’Donnell, who has committed to UMass-Dartmouth next year, is seeing the results from the effort he’s put in.
“He has worked extremely hard in the off season,” Perakslis said. “He’s been taking pitching lessons since his sophomore year. He’s been totally dedicated to it.”