For a pitcher, there’s no greater individual triumph than tossing a no-hitter. It’s a feat worthy of praise at any level — the major leagues, college, high school, Little League, baseball or softball. It’s an extremely rare achievement.
So it seems impossibly rare that three no-hitters could be thrown on three successive days … by pitchers in the same high school district. But that’s exactly what happened last month, thanks to the strong arms and pinpoint control of East Meadow High’s Brian Kavanagh and Kerri Shapiro, and Clarke’s Sarah Cornell.
April 10, 11 and 12 were otherwise ordinary days in the area: the temperature hovered in the low 50s, and residents were reveling in the early weeks of spring as they prepared for the start of Passover and Easter. But for Kavanagh, Shapiro and Cornell, those three days were anything but ordinary.
Kavanagh’s gem came first, in a 7-0 victory over Baldwin High School on Wednesday the 10th. Shapiro’s came 24 hours later, in a 12-0 rout of Calhoun High in girls’ softball, and a day later, Cornell’s heroics led Clarke to a 2-0 softball win over South Side High.
Before the game, during warmups, Kavanagh knew it was going to be a special day. His cut fastball and curveball were biting, both spiraling into the dirt with the sharpest of breaks. His catcher, Jonny Keicher, having caught Kavanagh since the pair’s Little League days, told him what he already knew. “Your breaking stuff is really on today,” Keicher said. “Today should be a really good day.”
Kavanagh, a junior, struck out nine Baldwin hitters en route to his no-hitter, getting them to chase balls in the dirt with regularity. His mid-80s fastball wasn’t too bad, either.
Typically a jolly, buoyant young man with a smile seemingly etched on his face, Kavanagh was all business on this day. “It was serious,” he said. “As soon as [Keicher] threw the ball back to me, my adrenaline was going and going and going.”