Lance Dickson is not one to become distraught over a few bad breaks, or awed by his own accomplishments.
Dickson, a left-handed pitcher for Grossmont High School, had a dream game Friday against Bonita Vista. But it started out to be a pitcher's worst nightmare.
Dickson was unperturbed when, although he struck out four batters in the first inning, the opposing team scored an unearned run on three errors and a passed ball. And he was unaware of the milestones that he reached during Grossmont's 10-1 victory.
"I had no idea I'd pitched a no-hitter or that I'd struck out 16 batters until my teammates told me at the end of the game," said Dickson, The Times' Player of the Week. "I don't think about those things. I just think one batter at a time, one pitch at a time."
It's probably a good thing Dickson is so unflappable. Otherwise, he might not have made it through Friday's game, Grossmont's season opener.
Dickson struck out the first hitter he faced, Terry Ehrhardt. But catcher Aaron Albert dropped the third strike, allowing Ehrhardt to reach first.
Dickson then tried to pick Ehrhardt off first base, but the runner was already on his way to second. He was safe when Grossmont's second baseman dropped the relay throw while making the tag.
Dickson struck out the next batter, but Albert again dropped the third strike, putting runners at first and third. Then Albert let one of Dickson's pitches go to the backstop, allowing Ehrhardt to score.
"I just figured it was Friday the 13th and things just weren't going to go my way," Dickson said.
Everything went his way after the first inning, however. Dickson even had praise for his catcher.
"He had a great game," Dickson said of Albert. "I think he was just a little nervous at first. You know, it was the first inning of the first game."
Dickson wasn't so satisfied with his own performance, even though it was his first no-hitter and the first time he had 16 strikeouts.
"It was a pretty good game," he said. "I've had more hop on my fastball than I did (Friday). But it was only the first game."
Dickson, a senior, has been pitching since his days in Little League.
"I just found out I could throw the ball harder than anyone else," he said. "It was kind of by accident that I became a pitcher."
Dickson plays baseball year-round. Last summer he played in a league in Mexico and spent his winter vacation at an instructional camp run by the Houston Astros.
Dickson hopes he'll be drafted by a major league team in June or get a scholarship to play college baseball.
"I just go day by day," he said. "I don't have any outstanding long-term goals. On the mound, I just worry about pitching to the next hitter and getting the next out."