The kid who used to retrieve the bats for Shamrocks not that long ago was back at St. Pat’s Ball Park Sunday night, and delivered a St. John’s Molson Senior Baseball League championship to the green and gold.
Graham King is still a kid — at 17, he’s completing his final year at Gonzaga high school — but his performance in Game 7 of the city baseball championship was the stuff expected of a wily veteran.
King twirled a two-hit gem in a complete game effort as the Shamrocks won the city’s senior baseball championship for the third year in a row, blanking RMM Gonzaga Vikings 4-0.
King struck out one, and issued only a couple of free passes.
This is the same Graham King who, as a young lad in elementary school, served as the Shamrocks’ batboy.
“Sean (Gulliver, the Shamrocks’ skipper) coached me in mosquito and peewee baseball, and I remember asking him if they needed a batboy,” King recalls.
“It’s pretty cool to look around now and be on the field with guys who were playing then, player like Goose (Scott Goosney) and Stumpy (Scott Stockley), Trevor Clarke and Brent Power.”
In the biggest game of the year, Gulliver had no problem turning to the youngster, who missed all of July this year while enrolled in the SHAD program for high-achieving high school students at Toronto’s Ryerson University.
“Gully emailed me and said Greg Barry was going to start, but if he couldn’t go, I’d start,” King said.
Turns out the southpaw Barry was spent after logging a lot of innings in the playoffs.
“I went to the ball park thinking I’d see some innings of relief,” said King. “Before the game, Gully put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Calm down, and go out and throw strikes.’”
“He’s got a live arm for a 17-year-old,” Gulliver said. “He’s probably topping out low 80s.
“But he’s also got a good curve and a change so he was able to keep them off-stride tonight.
“Gonzaga’s arguably the best hitting team in the league, but we have the best defence in the league,” Gulliver said. “I told Graham before the game to hit his spots, move the ball inside and out, let them put it in play and let your defence go to work.
“That’s exactly what happened.”
Redmond Hunt led the Shamrocks at the plate with two hits and a pair of runs knocked in. Andrew Paul and Gary Dymond had the Gonzaga hits as St. John’s baseball wrapped up for the 2018 season.
It was the third straight loss to the Shamrocks in the final for Gonzaga. The Vikings won the 2014 and 2015 championships.