SMYRNA -- Wil Crowe is basically a major-college pitcher still performing in high school.
Elizabethton can attest to that as the Cyclones witnessed a perfect game by Pigeon Forge's dominating right-hander in the opening round of the Class AA state baseball tournament Tuesday night at Smyrna High School. The Tigers won 10-0 in five innings.
It was Crowe's second straight no-hitter and his second perfect game of the season. Crowe (15-1) has four no-hitters to go along with 172 strikeouts, 12 walks and an ERA less than 0.50.
Pigeon Forge improved to 36-2 on the season and will play Murfreesboro Central in today's winners' bracket final at 1:30 p.m. Elizabethton slipped to 28-11 and will play Dyersburg in the losers' bracket semifinal at 11 a.m. (EDT).
Crowe faced 15 batters, retiring nine on strikeouts, three on grounders back to the mound, two on fly outs, and one on a grounder to shortstop. His game became perfect when the Tigers pushed across two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game on the mercy rule.
That was a big bonus for Pigeon Forge because Crowe threw only 66 pitches, and will likely be used again Thursday or Friday.
“We tried to turn it up a notch, but the kid can flat out throw the ball,” said Cyclones' head coach Joe Nix. “His slider drops off like a curveball. He's around the plate and has a plus fastball. In high school it's hard to prep for it.”
Crowe said the low number of pitches is pretty normal for him.
“It's what I've been doing all year,” he said. “I'm just working for my team.”
Despite the overwhelming success, Crowe said he wasn't his sharpest.
“I didn't have my best stuff,” he said. “My fastball was decent. My change was decent. My slider was decent. The pitch tonight was my curve. When I needed something to throw, that's what I threw.”
Pigeon Forge head coach Mike Guinn said it was a good night all around for Crowe.
“He was up in the mid-90s, 93-95 mph,” said Guinn. “Everything was working good. Was it his best? I wouldn't say that. He's had several games like this.”
As if his pitching wasn't enough, Crowe also came up big at the plate. He crushed a three-run homer in the fourth inning, and finished with two hits.
Quincy Jackson and Anthony Ward may have a story to tell their friends and family in years to come. They were only Cyclones' players to make contact against Crowe.
Nix said his players simply need to bounce back.
“As long as they respond, what happens next is up to them,” said Nix.
Austin Smith took the loss on the mound for the Cyclones.