The game report sent to Baltimore Orioles farm director Darrell "Doc" Rodgers summed up Luis Ramirez's night pretty nicely: "Outstanding, overpowering performance. Totally dominated and overmatched the hitters."
But even those superlatives might not have done justice to Ramirez's record-setting outing Wednesday night for the short-season Class A Aberdeen Ironbirds. The 22-year-old faced 17 Jamestown batters, striking out 15, in five innings. At one point, the right-hander fanned 12 straight hitters, believed to be an American professional baseball record. (Tom Seaver holds the major league mark with 10.)
"Very good performance, outstanding performance, one that will go down in history," Aberdeen Manager Don Buford said.
After retiring the leadoff batter on a groundout, Ramirez began the streak of 12 straight strikeouts, including four in the second inning after a dropped third strike and an error by the first baseman.
With a fastball registering in the low nineties, Ramirez threw 58 of his 76 pitches for strikes, "which is crazy," Rodgers said. "If they all threw like that, gee whiz, we wouldn't have much to do."
Ramirez led the Gulf Coast League in strikeouts per nine innings the past two seasons, once striking out six consecutive hitters. In his three-year minor league career, the 6-foot-4 180-pound Ramirez has averaged more than 1.5 strikeouts per inning. But he called Wednesday night "by far the best night I've ever had."
"It's a pretty good feeling when you're standing there throwing strikes right by the batter -- a pretty good feeling," the native of Curacao said through an interpreter. "I realized there were a couple batters who weren't making contact. I realized by the third or fourth inning I was doing something."