Zach Wendkos started the season as one of Pinellas County's better catchers.
Now he is one of the county's best pitchers.
Last week, the Shorecrest senior threw a perfect game against Keswick Christian, retiring all 21 batters and striking out 15.
Wendkos, who has signed with Princeton to play catcher next season, has assumed the role of ace for pitching-shy Shorecrest (10-5).
"I like it a lot," Wendkos said. "I knew that we only had two other pitchers and I'd have to throw some, but I never thought I'd start as much as I have."
Though his 85 mph fastball would not be considered overpowering, his pinpoint control makes it so. In 44 innings, he has walked two and struck out a county-high 75.
That control was the key to his perfect game, he said. Wendkos knew his stuff was on that night, but until teammate Brian Decoveny violated a baseball rule by telling him in the sixth inning he had a perfect game going, he was unaware of his brilliance against the Crusaders.
"I thought he was going to jinx me, but I made it through," said Wendkos, batting .524 with three home runs and 16 RBIs. "I was going good and just told myself to keep using what was working."
In his next start Tuesday, Wendkos flirted with an encore. But after three perfect innings against Admiral Farragut, an error snapped his string. He left after four and allowed one hit to earn the victory.
"Yeah, I was thinking about it," Wendkos said. "Probably in the second inning I probably jinxed myself."
The Super Seven
1. Dunedin (16-0) _ Well, duh!
2. Northside Christian (13-0) _ Is it too much to ask that the Mustangs and Falcons collide in next week's Dunedin Easter Tournament? Oh what fun that would be.
3. East Lake (13-1) _ Shhhhhh. The Eagles are quietly lurking with Lee Byers' best team since 2000. One Huegel brother leads the team with a 6-0 record (Tyler) and the other in homers and RBIs (Nate).
4. Clearwater Central Catholic (13-0) _ Shawn Williams and Justin O'Keeffe head up a pitching staff that has held its past nine opponents to one run or less. Did we mention the Marauders could cross paths with Dunedin next week?
5. Seminole (10-5) _ Jimmy Kubek has been great and the team has enough talent to contend on most nights.
6. Pinellas Park (9-5) _ Maybe the best of the rest, but not by much. But with a meeting against No. 2 Northside Christian in next week's Dunedin tournament, the sky is the limit.
7. The South Side (just above .500) _ Someone will have to step up next week to grab this spot, because Gibbs, Bogie, Northeast, Lakewood and St. Petersburg all have seven or eight wins and look the same to us.