Fans and professional scouts packed O'Malley Family Field in Encino on Tuesday to see the 17-year-old pitching whiz who hit 100 mph on two radar guns last week. Lucas Giolito, the senior right-hander at Studio City Harvard-Westlake, has the baseball world buzzing.
But velocity alone doesn't guarantee success, and Giolito was outdueled by Mission Hills Alemany senior right-hander Cody Thompson, who struck out seven and gave up three hits in a 2-1 Mission League victory over the No. 2-ranked Wolverines.
When it comes to pressure, Thompson thrives on it. He has been on varsity since he was a freshman. He has won playoff games in hostile environments.
"I love playing the game and I like all the pressure on me," he said. "I just had to pitch my game and not try to compete with what [Giolito] has, because he has velocity."
Throwing 84-mph fastballs and sometimes wicked curveballs, Thompson made clutch pitches repeatedly to get out of jams. He walked four and struck out Max Fried to end the game.
Alemany Coach Randy Thompson decided not to bring in his closer, Peter Van Gansen, in the sixth when Harvard-Westlake finally got on the board with a run-scoring single by Ryan Vanderschans.
"We could have gone to Van Gansen, but Cody deserved that opportunity," he said.
Giolito was clocked at 98 mph in the first inning. He had not walked a batter in 10 1/3 innings, but he did not have his best command in the early going. He finished with four strikeouts, walked three, hit three batters and gave up five hits before leaving the game with one out in the seventh after tweaking his groin.
Alemany scored two runs in the third, getting a run-scoring single by Ryan Paramo to combine with two hit batters, a walk and a single by Van Gansen.
Perhaps the most startling news from Tuesday is that Giolito and Fried, both UCLA signees and top pro prospects, have lost consecutive games. It shows on a given day what can happen in baseball.
"Every game is fun," Cody Thompson said, "but this was the one game on our schedule we knew was our big game and came into it like a playoff game."