Korby's Corner...Godbout, Johnson pitch perfect gamesIntently standing at shortstop for the final inning, Zach Veno had the best vantage point for Carlton baseball teammate Colton Godbout’s perfect game last week.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Intently standing at shortstop for the final inning, Zach Veno had the best vantage point for Carlton baseball teammate Colton Godbout’s perfect game last week. Veno recalled the last three outs play-by-play.
“The first batter hit a ground ball to Brett Balow at second, the next one a grounder to Erik Adams at third and the last guy Colton struck out on three pitches,” said Veno, a junior.
“No one will be able to forget that,” Veno said. “It was pretty amazing.”
Godbout was baseball perfection last Thursday in a 7-0 rout over Moose Lake-Willow River in a game with no hits, walks or even runners.
The senior pitcher’s perfect game was one for the state high school league’s history books, and arguably one of the proudest moments for the small program.
Certainly it was for Godbout.
“It didn’t sink in until the next day school when everyone was shaking my hand and congratulating me,” said the 18-year-old Godbout, noting that a perfect game was never a thought for him. “It was a pretty cool experience.”
According to Carlton Coach Ryan Schmidt, Godbout threw just 82 pitches and struck out 12 Rebels. Schmidt estimated that Godbout, a right-hander, heaved 18 first-pitch strikes against the minimum 21 batters he faced.
Godbout throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball, along with a changeup and curve. Schmidt said his ace that day was dealing.
“In my 20 years of coaching now, I’ve never seen a perfect game,” Schmidt said. “We all had to adjust the next day at practice.”
Veno agreed, explaining that the following day at school, he and fellow juniors Erik Adams and Kyle Gunderson looked online only to find that 15 perfect games have been thrown in the state’s elongated history.
“That was the first one for me, too,” Veno said. “It was a pretty good feeling to be a part of that. He pitched a great game.”
Yet, it was Godbout who said he wasn’t the only one who played a good game that day.
“I had a great group of guys behind me,” he said of his Bulldogs teammates. “I wasn’t nervous when the ball was hit.”
He admitted walking to the hill in the final frame was intense.
“I was excited more than anything,” said Godbout. “I still wanted to win.”
“After the second out we gathered up and told Colton your defense is behind you,” Veno added. “We told him to stay focused and take your time.”
Colton’s father, Darrell, was sitting behind the fence in the bleachers throughout the game’s entirety. He said he congratulated his son like everyone else did afterward, proud to have witnessed such a moment.
“He did a great job,” Darrell said. “Players from the other team even came over and congratulated him. I had co-workers even call me the next day.
“It’s just something you’re really proud of,” he continued. “But after the game, I think he was just kind of the same old Colton like always.”
Less than a week later, ML-WR senior Sam Johnson tossed a perfect game in a 19-0 girls fastpitch softball rout over Cromwell-Wright Tuesday night. The righty fanned nine batters in the shortened five-inning affair.
Perfect games are far from easy on any diamond.
Schmidt said it takes a full collective effort from all.
“For us, it wasn’t just pitching that was perfect,” he said, “but our defense was perfect, too, and we got some timely hits.”
And they avoided the elephant in the room just long enough.
“In between innings, some guys would hint at that I had a perfect game,” Colton Godbout said about the common superstition that naming the perfect game might jinx it. “But everything just seemed to be working. I’ll definitely never forget it.”