Cotopaxi sophomore Chance Gulliford was dealing on Friday.
The right-handed pitcher, who stands 6-foot-5, struck out 16 of the first 18 batters he faced against Antonito, and finished the game with a career-high 18 punchouts. In 6 2/3 innings, he walked just one batter, allowed three hits, and three runs — but each run was unearned.
Gulliford is now 5-2 this season with a 2.15 ERA for the ninth-ranked Pirates, who improved to 12-4 this season in Class 1A with a 9-3 win over Antonito.
It was Gulliford's fourth game with at least 10 strikeouts this season. In his last three outings, including wins over Manzanola, Del Norte and this game against Antonito, he has struck out 12, 14 and 18 batters.
Against Del Norte, Gulliford allowed just one hit in seven innings.
He now has 80 strikeouts this season, which are the most of any sophomore in the state. They are also the most of any pitcher in 1A.
Gulliford also plays third base, and is hitting .350 with a home run and 15 RBIs this season.