The Phillies' Class-A Affiliate, the Lakewood Blue Claws, scheduled an early 11:05 a.m. game on Monday against the Charleston RiverDogs.  by 12:52 p.m., the game was already over.  The reason it went so fast?  The RiverDogs did not collect a single hit after a masterful performance by Phillies prospect Nick Fanti.

Fanti went all nine innings, walking just one batter while striking out 12.  Fanti threw 113 pitches, 78 of them for strikes.  But that was not the only masterful pitching performance on Monday afternoon.

The RiverDogs allowed just two hits themselves.  Both hits came from Henri Lartigue, a catcher who was serving as the designated hitter on Monday.  One of them connected for a home run, to give the BlueClaws a 1-0 lead with one out in the second inning.  The rest of the way, Laritgue's second hit, a single, was the only other offense along the way.  The BlueClaws did not reach base any other time.

Fanti was drafted 31st round in the 2015 MLB draft.   The Phillies drafted the talented high school pitcher who was already to pitch at Marist College, and talked him into signing with the Phillies instead of attending college.  He was convinced to sign by Brian Sweeney, Lakewood's pitching coach.

Sweeney also served as a coach for Team Italy in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.  Fanti joined him for the tournament after a request from Sweeney, much to his surprise.  Fanti recounted his experience in a Newsday article this Spring:

Fanti said he and Sweeney had talked about him pitching in the WBC, or the Olympics in four years, but then Sweeney “called and says, ‘Hey, remember when I said in four years or three years would you want to pitch in a Classic?’ ” Fanti said of their December conversation. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ And he said, ‘Would you want to do it in three months?’

Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about Fanti's success in the World Baseball Classic earlier this Spring and in the piece Sweeney had good advice for Fanti:

"I told him, 'You just faced the best hitters in the world,' " Sweeney said. "I said, 'How do you think these guys will compare to the guys you might face in Lakewood?' He said, 'It might be a little bit easier.' I always remind him of what we talked about the first year I had him. I asked him, 'How did you get guys out in high school?' He said by throwing strikes. I said, 'Do that. It gets people out here, too.' "

Doing that led to a no-hitter on Fanti's resume.

You will not find Fanti on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 prospect list, but you might soon.  The left-hander is now 7-2 with a 2.52 earned run average for the BlueClaws in 15 starts.  Throwing a no-hitter is certainly a good way to get noticed.

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