SCARBOROUGH – Johnny Vander Meer of the Cincinnati Reds achieved baseball immortality in 1938 when he became the only pitcher in big league history to throw consecutive no-hitters.

Scarborough High pitchers Ben Wessel and Ben Greenberg gained local fame last week when they pitched consecutive no-hitters against Sanford and Massabesic.

Ryan Mancini, another Red Storm right-hander, sandwiched those performances with a three-hitter and a four-hitter.

Scarborough Coach Mike Coutts had only seen one no-hitter in his playing and coaching career until last week. He wondered if what he was seeing could really be happening.

“I saw one when I was coaching in the Cape Cod League,” said Coutts.

“We had a pitcher from Georgia throw a no-hitter. Last week was so unique. It’s difficult to pitch one. To do it back to back is quite impressive.”

Coutts’ mantra to his pitchers of throwing first-pitch strikes, throwing inside and getting the breaking ball over has obviously sunk in.

Coutts said strong pitching performances are indicative of the pitching-rich Telegram League.

“Our pitchers all pitched during the winter and they all have individual pitching coaches,” he said.

Wessel, a junior, was sailing along not realizing he had a no-hitter until the final inning when he overheard his teammate. There’s an unwritten rule of not uttering a word when a teammate is in the midst of a no-hitter.

“It didn’t end up jinxing me so it was OK,” said Wessel. “I mixed up my pitches well.”

Mancini tossed a three-hitter against Thornton Academy before the no-hitters and threw a four-hitter against Gorham the game after. As the team’s third baseman, Mancini got a close look at Wessel’s and Greenberg’s gems.

“It was something special to see my good friend and a freshman throw no-hitters,” he said.

Greenberg is a freshman who is making the most of his opportunity to start. With Joe Cronin experiencing soreness in his arm, that opened the door for Greenberg to be a starter.

“I had heard a lot about Ben Greenberg in junior high so I decided to invite him to the pitchers and catchers week in preseason,” said Coutts.

“We talk about the mental game of baseball. When opportunity comes, you have to make the most of it.”

Greenberg said he felt the pressure in the seventh inning of his no-hitter.

“Massabesic hit the ball the whole game but my defense made the plays,” said Greenberg.

When Mancini pitched after the no-hitters, his teammates asked him if he was going to match Wessel and Greenberg.

“I wanted to keep the streak alive but that was too much to hope for,” said Mancini.

Mancini, a senior who will attend Bowdoin College, didn’t pitch his junior year because he was still recovering from a broken bone in his wrist.

During the summer he returned to the mound and pitched very well.

The early emergence of Greenberg has given the Red Storm more options on the mound.

“I might return to the bullpen if Joe Cronin returns to starting,” he said.

Wessel has verbally committed to play baseball at the University of Rhode Island.

By the time he’s a senior, Greenberg could have several colleges who would want him to pitch.

All three pitchers are hard workers as the early results have shown.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

[email protected]