Former University of Maine ace right-hander Cody Laweryson of Moscow picked up his first win as a pro on Monday for the Elizabethton Twins, and it was a performance he will never forget.
The graduate of Valley High School in Bingham struck out 15 in six innings in a 1-0 Appalachian League (Class A Rookie) victory over the Greeneville Reds. He didn’t walk anyone and allowed three hits.
He tossed a rare “immaculate inning” in the fifth when he struck out all three hitters on nine pitches, the minimum for an inning. It was the 27th such inning this season in minor league baseball.
The 15 strikeouts were the most registered by an Elizabethton pitcher this season.
“I got ahead in the count for the most part,” Laweryson told Elizabethton media relations director Nicholas Badders after the game. “I knew going into the game that their hitters were pretty aggressive, so I wanted to spin my breaking ball down and keep my changeup down to get swings [and misses] and I did that.”
Watch: Cody Laweryson talks about his impressive pro victory
He said it took awhile to get his first win, but it was a good feeling to finally get one.
The Twins were still in the playoff picture at the time but did not advance.
“If this was my last outing, I went out on a pretty good note,” Laweryson said.
The most strikeouts posted by a minor-league pitcher this season was 17, and both times it took eight innings.
Elizabethton reliever Owen Griffith came on and struck out five over the final three innings as the team concluded its season with a 33-34 record earlier this week.
The 20-year-old Laweryson was chosen in the 14th round (419th overall) by the Minnesota Twins in the Major League Baseball draft after earning first-team All-America East status last season.
He appeared in 10 games for Elizabethton, including six starts, and posted a 1-1 record and a 1.76 earned run average. He also picked up a save.
The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder allowed 25 hits in 41 innings with 59 strikeouts and just nine walks. He allowed just two home runs.
He also started one game for Cedar Rapids in the Class A Midwest League and hurled five shutout innings, surrendering only two hits with four strikeouts and a walk. He had no decision.
“That was a great experience,” said Lawyerson, who is hoping to apply what he learned in that start next season when he expects to move up to Class A ball.