IMG Academy 18U Summer Wood Bat League (WBL) Marauders pitcher Marshal Hayden threw a seven-inning no-hitter to shut out the Manatees 10-0 in the semi-finals and advance to the finals against the Hurricanes. In 100 pitches, Hayden threw 69 total strikes.
“This was the last game I was pitching in this summer so it was sweet to have everyone clap and cheer me on,” Hayden said. “I definitely wanted to put it all out there.”
Recognizing some of the tendencies of the hitters, the 17-year-old aimed low and communicated well with the catcher to notch the very first no-hitter of his baseball career.
Hayden continued: “The coaches were really helpful too. During one of the innings, I was getting behind the count and they told me to just attack more and not get so far behind because if you get too far behind, you waste pitches and your pitch count increases so it’s harder to finish the game strong.”
The southpaw uses his stance to his advantage.
“A lot of players can’t see the ball that well in my hand because I hide it behind my back,” Hayden remarked. “Picking off the pitch of a lefty is more deceiving. When I deliver the ball, I have natural tail and movement so it’s harder for them to hit it.”
Marauders coach and former Seattle Mariners player Shawn Nottingham praised his player’s work.
“It was one of the best pitching performances I’ve ever seen,” Nottingham remarked. “As far as my baseball experience goes, I’ve played baseball all my life and professionally for seven years, and that ranks up there in the top couple of games. The defense only had to make like four plays because he struck everyone else out. The performance spoke for itself.”
From outfield play to hitting to pitching mechanics, Nottingham has seen improvements from Hayden each day.
As a Bradenton, Fla. native, Hayden drives past IMG Academy each day and has been playing in the WBL since the summer following his freshman year in high school.
Experienced, Hayden leads on and off the field. This season, he helped the Marauders turn around from a last place, one-and-five record in the beginning of the season to become championship-bound in the post-season. Hayden also displayed strong leadership as the captain of the Bradenton Christian Varsity baseball team his junior and senior years.
“His attitude is awesome,” Nottingham said. “Everyone looks to him as a mentor and clings to him. The players follow his example and outside of baseball, they always want to hang out with him. All-around, he’s a pleasure to have on the team and a great leader.”
Hayden’s calm demeanor and discipline gained from baseball will help him transition to college this fall, where he will be studying mechanical engineering at the University of Florida and vie for a spot on the club baseball team.