TRINITY — When lanky Mitchell High left-hander Patrick Schuster tossed his second consecutive no-hitter 13 days ago, he made a headline or two. When he tossed his third in a row five nights later, he made SportsCenter.
Monday evening, the University of Florida signee made history.
Before a standing-room-only throng at Mitchell's modest ballpark, Schuster became the first high school pitcher in Florida to toss four consecutive no-hitters. Facing a 17-7 Pasco High squad that came in with a .347 team batting average, Schuster struck out 17 in a 5-0 victory.
After the final strike, an apparent slider that froze freshman Trejon Smith, Schuster pumped his arms in the air as his teammates rushed the mound.
"It hasn't hit me yet," said Schuster, who eclipsed a record shared by Gonzalez Tate's Ben Webb (who set it in 1985) and ex-Jefferson star Sam Militello ('87).
"I was trying so hard not to think about it. I told my outfielders the last two innings, 'Please, just come in. I don't want to give up a bloop hit. That would be the worst way to end it.' I'm still on cloud nine right now."
Schuster's celestial ride began April 3, when he fanned 17 Land O'Lakes batters in a 2-1 no-hit triumph. Five days later, he struck out 10 River Ridge batters in a five-inning, 10-0 no-no. Then April 13, he no-hit Clearwater Central Catholic with a 16-strikeout effort.
On Monday, with more than a dozen scouts and Gators coach Kevin O'Sullivan watching, Schuster brandished his low-90s fastball and consistently handcuffed Pasco with his curve. Two fly balls by junior Brennan Allen were the only balls hit out of the infield. Only a walk, a hit batter and an error separated Schuster from a perfect game.
"I was nervous (at Monday's game) probably for the first time during all this," Mustangs coach Scot Wilcox said. "Not nervous, but I guess anxious, because every time they made contact you sort of got on the edge of your seat."
Schuster, who tied a Pasco County record by striking out 20 in a game last season, has thrown 30 consecutive hitless innings. In a concession to his superstitious nature, he hasn't shaved the light-brown goatee during the streak.
"I don't know that it's hit me yet, really," said Schuster's mom, Sharon, who kept track of all of her son's 105 pitches. "It was very exciting though. He had a lot of pitches; I'm glad it's over."
Schuster (8-0, 110 strikeouts) goes for no-hitter No. 5 on April 28 in the Class 6A, District 7 tournament at Countryside High. The national prep record for consecutive no-nos is six, shared by two.
If he reaches that mark, David Letterman or Jay Leno might tussle with ESPN for his attention.
"Nah, that's too far of a trip," Schuster said. "I've got school to finish."