Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

May 9, 2013

A 'perfect' rarity

Mets' Dennehy earns pitching, batting milestones in single Majors game

By Sonya Vartabedian

---- — It’s as if the stars were in perfect alignment last week for the Dennehy brothers and their Andover Mets baseball team.

As the late-day sun shined over Dyermond Field on April 29, Patrick Dennehy made his season’s first outing to the mound for the Andover Little League Mets Majors team.

Twelve-year-old Patrick, a seventh-grader at West Middle School, doesn’t typically get a chance to pitch for the Mets since he also plays for the New England Nor’Easters club baseball team and has to rest his arm for that squad’s weekend games.

As Patrick reached the mound, his younger bother, 11-year-old Ryan, a fifth-grader at Sanborn Elementary, pulled down his catcher’s mask and crouched down to take his spot behind home plate.

For the first time, the brothers from Wabanaki Way who have played baseball since kindergarten had found themselves on the same baseball team. Now the sons of Michael and Heather Dennehy had the chance to team up as the pitcher-catcher battery.

Six innings later, Patrick recorded his first perfect game — striking out 14 of the 18 batters he faced over the six-inning contest against the Braves. It was the fourth inning, after striking out nine hitters, before he threw his first ball.

“It’s very rare, especially in Little League where there are all kinds of pitch count rules and with 10- to 12-year-olds, there can be any kind of error,” Mets manager Tom Haffner Jr. said. “No one believed it actually happened.”

But if that feat wasn’t enough, Patrick notched another milestone that night — hitting for “the cycle” by getting off a single, double, triple and homerun all in one game as he went five for five at the plate.

“It’s ridiculous. Only Ty Cobb could pitch a perfect game and hit for the cycle,” Haffner said. “It’s a little bit surreal. It’s just really amazing.

By mid-game, Michael Dennehy was aware all Patrick needed was a double to complete the cycle. That’s when his son told him he had a perfect game going, too.

“I know they’re both rare accomplishments,” said the proud father, who for the first year is sitting out as coach of his sons’ baseball teams. “To do both in one game ... I’m sure it’s been done, but I’m not sure I’ve seen it.”

Dennehy and Haffner were quick to credit the entire team with allowing Patrick to earn the “perfect” title.

Alec Haffner helped preserve the no-hitter with a grab at shortstop in the fourth inning and Michael Leone came through with a key play at second base to record the last out of the game.

In all, the Mets had 24 hits in their 18-0 shutout of the Braves, with Jeremy Morgenstern getting off two and Ryan Grecco connecting for his first hits of his Majors career. Alec Haffner and Jack Bodette both exploded with four hits, with Jack making one of his a homerun.

Coach Haffner said Nicholas Galietti, Sean Sullivan, Zachary Grover, Michael Leone and Andrew Cohen all delivered standout performances as well to round out the memorable win.

“It just worked out so well,” Haffner said.