Gem makes pitcher an instant media star
Will Lucas is getting his 15 minutes of national fame -- and then some.
After throwing the 47th no-hitter in Little League World Series history Monday night, the 12-year-old short stop and part-time pitcher has been getting rock-star treatment from the national media.
His gem performance against New Castle, Ind., was the top-play on ESPN SportsCenter's "Top-10 Plays" segment Monday night. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Shane Victorino sent him a congratulatory Tweet, and his name briefly trended on Twitter.
The cherry atop the celebrity sundae came Tuesday morning when he was a live guest on the "Dan Patrick Show," the nationally syndicated radio show.
How did he end up on Patrick's show?
Like thousands of other Fairfield residents, Paul Pabst was watching the game on TV Monday, his 3-year-old daughter at his side, and got caught up in the mounting drama.
"She didn't really get it," Pabst said via email Tuesday. "But she saw me going nuts so she knew something cool was happening."
Pabst happens to be the executive producer of the "Dan Patrick Show" and has been following Fairfield American's run through Williamsport. He texted Patrick, telling him to watch Lucas finish the game.
Once Lucas completed the no-no, Pabst called Patrick and the two agreed that Lucas should be a guest on the radio show, which is broadcast from a studio in Milford.
"We knew the fans would get a kick out of having a young man on the show after such a special night," Pabst said. "Dan was good with Will and vice versa. (Patrick) makes sure his younger guests are comfortable."
Pabst said that watching Lucas finish history was special -- even more so than watching a Major Leaguer finish a no-hitter.
"It was better," he said. "I had a rooting interest. I saw Felix Hernandez do it for Seattle last week, but this was better. These kids will remember that night forever, and fans in Fairfield got to see it on national TV. That's pretty rare."
Among the anecdotes Lucas provided was third baseman Kevin Oricoli's dare for Lucas to throw a knuckle ball.
"That's such a kid thing to do," Pabst said.
Pabst, who has two daughters, has met and interacted with some of Fairfield's parents and can empathize with what it must be like to have children performing on such a grand stage.
"They must be on pins and needles," he said.