Martis fires no-hitter against Panama

Martis no-hits Team Panama

• Box score

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The Netherlands saved the best for last, closing out its World Baseball Classic experience on the highest of high notes.

Shairon Martis threw a seven-inning no-hitter, while the Dutch offense exploded for 10 runs on 17 hits, as the Netherlands rolled to a 10-0 mercy-rule victory.

The no-hitter was the first of the World Baseball Classic, as the 18-year-old right-hander stamped his name in both the record books and assured himself of being a trivia answer.

"I feel very proud," Martis said. "Words cannot express what I feel."

"I would personally like to congratulate Martis for his wonderful performance," said Panama manager Anibal Reluz. "After the fourth, our team was falling behind and Martis was in a very good position. We kept fighting, but today was a very difficult day."

The no-hitter wasn't without its taste of controversy, as a ball hit by pinch-hitter Adolfo Rivera with one out in the seventh was ruled an error, though it could have easily been scored a base hit.

"I think on any given day, you'll get a base hit on that," said Netherlands manager Robert Eenhoorn. "The way he was pitching, I thought the decision was to show him respect and give him a chance to do something special."

The Netherlands finished its Pool C schedule with a 1-2 record, finishing third behind Puerto Rico and Cuba. Panama went winless in the bracket, finishing in last place at 0-3.

"Today, we finally hit, the pitching was great and the defense was working good," said catcher Sidney de Jong. "It was good to show the world that we can play baseball."

"The difference between winning and losing today, is that we can now leave with our heads up instead of down," Eenhoorn said.

Although the Netherlands struggled to put anything together in its first two games, hitting a collective .156 against Puerto Rico and Cuba, the offense found its groove early and often on Friday.

Four of the first five batters singled, driving Panama starter Miguel Gomez from the game after just one-third of an inning. Down 1-0, left-hander Roger Deago entered the game with the bases loaded, but Dirk van't Klooster doubled to center, plating a pair of runs to give the Netherlands a 3-0 lead.

Two consecutive errors by shortstop Orlando Miller and an RBI single by Hainley Statia increased the lead to 5-0, as the Netherlands sent 10 men to the plate in the opening frame.

"I was very pleased with the way we came out swinging the bats, for the first time being able to taste being ahead," Eenhoorn said. "At the beginning of the game, we had no idea what it would lead to, because it was obviously Shairon's game."

The Dutch offense struck again in the third, when Hainley Statia singled in a run to boost the lead to six runs.

While the attention was on the offense, Martis, a prospect in the Giants' organization, cruised through Panama's lineup with ease. The right-hander, who will turn 19 later this month, retired nine of the first 10 batters, issuing only a two-out walk to Olmedo Saenz in the first inning.

"I wanted to throw my fastball down so I could get as many ground balls as possible," said Martis, who relied heavily on his fastball, sinker and slider.

The Netherlands added a run in the fourth on an RBI single by van't Klooster, making it 7-0. Martis went right back to work, sitting Panama down in order in the bottom of the inning to carry his no-hitter through four innings.

Eenhoorn first thought that Martis had a chance to make history when he saw the pitcher go through the heart of Panama's lineup for a second time, as Saenz, Carlos Lee and Ruben Rivera were unable to do anything against him.

"They're very experienced hitters that usually make adjustments in their second at-bat," Eenhoorn said. "The way he got them out, that's when I thought it would be very tough for them to get a base hit today."

Martis got some more support from his offense in the fifth, as the Dutch tacked on three more runs to take a 10-0 lead.

Martis had little trouble in the fifth and sixth, retiring all six batters he faced -- on just 10 total pitches -- to extend his streak to 15 in a row.

"He hit his spots the whole game, and the defense helped him out," de Jong said. "They have a lot of experienced guys on their team. We tried to work to our strengths instead of their weaknesses."

From the fourth through the sixth, Martis threw just 18 pitches, keeping his pitch count to an impressive 57 through six frames.

"I didn't even realize he was throwing a no-hitter until the fifth," said left fielder Danny Rombley. "It was fun to play behind a guy like that."

Despite having just seven pitches remaining before his pitch-count limit, Martis came back out for the seventh. Rivera, pinch-hitting for Freddy Herrera, hit a hot shot to third which hit Coffie's glove, glancing into left field. The official scorer ruled it an error, keeping the no-no alive.

"At first," Martis said, "I thought they were going to call a hit."

Martis retired Saenz for the first out, throwing pitch No. 64.

"We were going to give him one more batter to try to get the double play," Eenhoorn said.

Remarkably enough, it happened. On his 65th pitch, Martis got pinch-hitter Cesar Quintero to ground into a 5-4-3 twin-killing, completing the no-hitter as Coffie made a nice play on the ball.

"I just wanted to throw my fastball down so I could get a ground ball and get a double play," Martis said. "For me it was very big to throw a no-hitter in the World Baseball Classic. I'm very happy with my job."

"He's going to have a very long career; he's going to be very good, and today, you saw how good he is," Eenhoorn said. "For him, it's a day he'll never forget."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.