Bridge City’s Chase Shugart part of 1st ever Worchester WooSox no-hitter

Published 12:29 am Saturday, August 6, 2022

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WORCESTER — Bridge City native Chase Shugart was part of something very special and was also part of something that happened for the first time Thursday night.

Shugart tossed the last two innings for the Triple A Worchester WooSox to help complete a 12-0 victory and combined with two other pitchers to toss the first no-hitter ever for the team.

Shugart’s face erupted into a smile as he watched his teammates race toward him and the crowd celebrated in the stands.

“That’s what we live for,” he said. “Playing baseball in the backyard with your brothers or sisters, it’s always the bottom of the ninth in a no-hitter. It’s a great feeling.”

The no-no was the first for a Triple-A Red Sox team since Bronson Arroyo’s perfect game for Pawtucket in 2003.

Shugart, who shined at Bridge City and the University of Texas, got called up to the Boston Red Sox Triple A team this season after a solid stint in Double A last season.

The combined no-hitter belonged to Michael Wacha, A.J. Politi and Shugart against a team that scored 16 against the WooSox on Tuesday. Wacha, who was on a rehab start from the Boston Red Sox, was outstanding in 4.2 innings. He struck out eight and allowed one walk. Politi tiptoed through a minefield of three walks over 2.1 innings before giving way to Shugart for the last two.

The reality of what was happening hit the Worcester Red Sox players at different points. There were so many other things going on that the in-progress no-hitter wasn’t as obvious as it sometimes is.

But everybody knew what was at stake with two outs in the ninth when Durham Bulls designated hitter Josh Lowe hit a sinking line drive just inside the left field line. They stood up, held their breath and watched as Delvin Granberg raced toward the ball.

Granberg, who entered the game in the fourth after Christin Stewart left with an injury, planned on diving no matter what. Even if it seemed unlikely, he was going to make every possible effort.

But he got a good jump and the ball hung up just long enough and settled into his glove as he skidded across the Polar Park outfield.

“When something really special could happen, you just want to make a play for your pitcher,” Granberg said. “Thankfully I was able to make it.”

As he popped up the WooSox players streamed out of the dugout and celebrated with Shugart and Ronaldo Hernandez at the mound on a rare night when pitching overshadowed hitting.

“I was just hoping Granberg makes the play,” Shugart said. “Going into the eighth, I was like ‘Wacha did a great job. Politi did his thing. Don’t be the one to mess it up.’”

Politi didn’t realize it was happening until the ninth.

“With two outs in the game,” he said sheepishly when asked when it hit him.

Shugart threw a no-hitter in high school in Bridge City. Wacha and Politi had never been part of one. Neither had manager Chad Tracy.

“That was pretty dang cool,” Wacha said. “It was pretty cool watching those guys shut it down there.”

Shugart had the ball and planned to send it to his grandparents.