LIBERTY - Kyle Harris trotted out to the pitcher's mound knowing he was throwing a no-hitter and needed just three outs to finish it, but he insisted he wasn't nervous.
"It was in my mind, but no, I wasn't really nervous," said Harris, just a sophomore on the Girard High School baseball team.
A 19-run lead will help calm just about any pitcher's nerves.
Harris completed the no-no as the Indians rolled past cross-town rival Liberty, 19-0, in a five-inning All-American Conference, National Division showdown.
Harris struck out four and allowed one walk. The hardest hit ball came on an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the first inning. The previously undefeated Leopards (4-1, 2-1) didn't have another batter reach base over the next four innings.
Girard coach Aaron Alejars said the hard-throwing Harris brings an impressive mindset to the mound for being an underclassman.
"He's a kid who goes in there fearless," said Alejars, in his first year leading the Indians (3-6, 1-2). "He wants the ball - no matter the situation, whether we're up 10 or down five or it's a one-run game. That's the good thing about him is he's fearless."
There was one moment when Harris was a bit scared. The final batter of the game, Liberty senior Brandon Stevens, hit a shallow fly ball to right field. The second baseman and right fielder each were calling for it and both converged on the ball.
"I thought it was going to fall because they both called it, but then the outfielder finally called him off," Harris said. "He kinda had to dive for it, and I thought he dropped it for a second."
He didn't. Kevin McNeal made a bit of an awkward, lunging catch, but he snagged the ball to preserve the no-hitter.
The Indians hit pretty well, too. Girard pounded Liberty pitching for 18 hits, including six for extra bases. The Indians led 1-0 before a seven-run fourth inning and an 11-run fifth. Jim Standohar did a lot of the damage, with three hits (two doubles and a triple) and six RBIs. Evan Standohar, Jim's cousin, added three hits, including a double, and drove in three runs. Harris and Zach Cochran also collected three hits.
The blowout was just what Girard needed after losing four one-run games to start the season.
"We made a few base-running mistakes early on, and we were only up one, and I started thinking, 'Here we go again,' " Alejars said. "But we kept the pressure on them, and they cracked a couple times there not making all the plays. When you keep hitting the ball like we were able to, that puts pressure on their defense."
It took all the pressure off Harris, who was able mix in a curve and a change-up to offset a fastball the Leopards couldn't catch up to.
"He's able to throw the breaking ball for a strike," Alejars said. "He spotted his change-up a couple of times for strikes to keep the batters off balance. He's got some pretty good velocity. He still has some things to learn, only being a sophomore, but he's got good upside for us."
It was on display on Monday.