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The senior throws 65 strikes as part of an 89-pitch effort.

by: JEFF GOODMAN / FILE - Senior pitcher Jon Inman threw a no-hitter April 25 to carry the Canby baseball team in a 7-0 win over Lakeridge.Whether because he was hungry or because rain forced the game to be played on two separate days, Jon Inman left the mound without realizing what he had just accomplished.

Then the umpire congratulated him.

Inman had just thrown a no-hitter as he carried the Canby baseball team to a 7-0 victory over Lakeridge in a pivotal conference game April 25 in Lake Oswego.

It was the first no-hitter of the senior pitcher’s playing career and the first such feat for the Cougars’ program under third-year coach J.J. Stolsig, a major accomplishment that Inman addressed with his characteristic calmness and modesty.

“It was kind of exciting,” he said. ‘It felt pretty good. I just hit my spots. It was a team effort, really.”

But it was an effort spearheaded by Inman, who tallied 65 strikes and four strikeouts in 89 pitches en route to giving Canby (11-5, 4-2 in the Three Rivers League) its first shutout win of the season.

Inman’s landmark performance began April 22 in Canby, where the home team mustered a 1-0 lead over the Pacers through the first three innings of the series-opening game. The remaining four frames were postponed due to inclement weather.

The Cougars then played the second game April 24 in Wilsonville, winning 5-4, and resumed the first contest immediately after Lakeridge posted a 6-0 shutout in the third game on its home diamond April 25.

“He picked up where he left off,” Stolsig said of Inman. “They took it to us the first game (of the afternoon), but he’s a big competitor and he gave us life.”

The only walk Inman allowed during his stellar outing came in the first three-inning stretch, when he spotted a batter a comfortable 3-0 cushion. He then countered by throwing four strikes in a row, two of which were fouled off, before missing the plate on his next pitch.

“I could say the ball was wet, but I just didn’t hit my spot,” he said.

Inman said he was feeling good enough to last seven innings on the day the game started but added that the three extra days of rest probably helped.

“That’s not the expected way,” Stolsig said. “But a no-hitter is a no-hitter.”

Stolsig, who graduated from Lebanon High School in 2001 before playing four seasons at Linfield College, was a catcher for a no-hitter during his prep career.

And it was a thrill for him to experience one as a coach, although he made sure not to mention it during the game.

“I don’t even know if (the other players) knew,” Stolsig said. “I didn’t say anything to anybody, and I was listening to the guys but I didn’t hear them say anything about it. The kids were really into the game, and they knew how important that game was. Then all of a sudden it was like, ‘Jon didn’t give up any hits.’”

Inman, a recent Eagle Scout honoree whose service project involved upgrading the high school baseball team’s bullpen and equipment storage area, has been a reliable hand on the hill for the Cougars.

Last year, he received all-league honorable mention and logged six run-free innings in the team’s shutout of Hillsboro-Century in the Class 6A play-in round. He started off this season with six strikeouts in Canby’s extra-innings win over St. Helens.

And it didn’t take Inman long to bounce back from the Cougars’ 7-0 loss to West Linn on the road April 14, when he gave up five runs in five innings.

“In the game against West Linn I got too excited, and my pitching suffers from that,” he said. “I just try to bear down. Most of the time, when I’m doing well, I’m just thinking about throwing a strike — or food.”

Inman was particularly hungry by the end of his evening at Lakeridge — he didn’t get home until about 9 p.m., and he hadn’t eaten much since lunchtime. But that was a small price to pay for his father being able to write “no-hitter” on a game ball that now rests on Inman’s bookshelf.

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