Puyallup High School junior Luke Heimlich was in the zone Friday night. He struck out 13 Bethel Braves in a perfect game as the Vikings earned a 9-0 shutout against a South Puget Sound League rival at Heritage Park on South Hill.
“We play this game to make memories for the rest of our lives,” Puyallup head coach Marc Wiese said. “We all got to witness a memory like that tonight.Luke is going to remember that for the rest of his life. It is something he will tell his grandchildren about.”
Heimlich said he didn’t feel nervous, even as the number of outs he needed dwindled inning by inning.
“I knew I just had to keep doing what I was doing the whole game,” he said. “Once you get into a groove, it’s kind of hard to get out of rhythm. I was just staying relaxed.”
Wiese said nobody questions who good Heimlich is.
“He pounds the zone and throws three pitches for strikes,” Wiese said. “He has got life on his fastball, his change-up really runs away from batters, and his breaking ball is a good plus pitch. It’s pretty fun to call pitches for a kid like that. (Catcher) Brendan Illies did a great job of setting up and receiving today.”
Puyallup broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the third inning, and the Vikings poured on seven more in the sixth. Illies, Darian Clemens and Zach Needham all finished with two RBIs.
“We have a dynamic offense,” Heimlich said. “Once we get rolling, there is no stopping us.”
Wiese said his team still has plenty of room to improve.
“We sputtered a little bit offensively early on,” he said. “A few of our guys got down on themselves. I told the guys that things aren’t always going to go our way. How we react when our cards are down a little bit is still something this ballclub needs to figure out and is something we need to change.”