Prep Baseball: Salisbury 18, Thomasville 0: Tonseth pitches perfect game, hits 3 triples
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Calling upon Salisbury ace Philip Tonseth to pitch to Thomasville created a bigger mismatch than sending Superman to stop a bank robbery.
Tonseth threw a four-inning perfect game, struck out eight of the 12 Bulldogs he faced and paced the Hornets to an 18-0 CCC romp on Senior Night at Robertson Stadium.
“Thomasville’s guys were taking their hacks, so I just did what I was supposed to do,” Tonseth said.
What Tonseth did on the mound was terrific, but it’s what he did at the plate that had people buzzing and calling the Guinness Book of World Records.
Tonseth ripped three legit triples, even though Salisbury only batted in three innings.
Salisbury (12-9, 6-3) had two triples as a team prior to Thursday’s contest, which gives you an idea how crazy three triples in three innings by one guy really is.
Tonseth blasted a triple to dead-center in the first, whistled a shot into the right-field corner for his second one in the second, and chalked the left-field line for an unlikely hat trick of three-baggers in the third.
“One triple to each side of the field,” Tonseth said with a grin. “It wasn’t something anyone would have predicted, but it was a great Senior Night for everybody.”
Salisbury’s seniors received a keepsake bat in pregame ceremonies, while mothers of seniors received a rose.
The six seniors ranged from long-time stars Tonseth and John Knox to starters Spencer Carmichael and Ian Swaim to reserves Donte Hoover and Tyler Crisler.
“It was a big night for everyone,” said Salisbury coach Scott Maddox, pointing to the players’ numbers on the outfield wall. “Philip had an amazing night, and everyone contributed. We hit some balls really hard.”
Tonseth’s first triple, Nolan Meyerhoeffer’s sacrifice fly and a Scott Van der Poel triple knocked in runs in the Hornets’ three-run first.
Things got out of hand in the second when the Hornets sent 16 men to the plate and scored 10 times. Besides the automatic Tonseth triple, Brian Bauk smashed a two-run triple to right-center, Knox got a run home with a solid double, and Clint Veal, Kyle Wolfe and Carmichael whacked RBI singles.
Maddox was inserting jayvees for at-bats before the inning was over, and runners were advancing just one station on all hits and staying put on potential wild pitches and passed balls.
Salisbury won 16-8 at Thomasville (1-14, 1-8), but not all the Bulldogs who played in that one were with the team on Thursday.
“Thomasville’s undermanned right now,” Maddox said. “I give them credit for showing up and battling as hard as they could.”
Hoover put a ball in play in the third to drive home a run, and Tonseth picked up his fourth and fifth RBIs of the night with his final triple. He has 28 RBIs for the season. Only two other Hornets have had that many in a season in this century. Alex Britt had 28 in 2007, while Zach Glass had 28 in 2005.
Tonseth got defensive help on his way to the abbreviated perfect game. Knox, the second baseman, made a nice running catch of a popup in short right field in the second inning.
The final out of the game also was exciting, as Korey Hilbourn smacked a hot grounder through the box. It eluded Tonseth, but Carmichael, the shortstop, showed range and made the play from behind the second-base bag.
“When that ball got past my glove, I thought that it was it as far as the perfect game, but Spencer saved it,” Tonseth said. “He came out of nowhere.”