ASHBURN, Va. — The memories from the game have faded, leaving Trey Quinn with a few mental images from one of his most impressive feats: a no-hitter in the Little League World Series.
He recalls the final out, punctuated by a fist punch; he remembers the ball that hit off him, which resulted in a putout. He accomplished this 10 years ago this past Saturday, but he’s too busy trying to make the Washington Redskins as a receiver to look back.
“It’s always something that everyone else brings up, not necessarily me,” said Quinn, who’s known as Mr. Irrelevant because he was the last pick of the 2018 draft.
You’ll never be irrelevant in Williamsport Trey…everyone @LittleLeague wishes you well…Trey Quinn: I’m the most relevant Mr. Irrelevant ever https://t.co/SbSH5z8xET via @ProFootballTalk
— Steve Keener (@littleleagueceo) May 1, 2018
In 2008, Quinn threw a no-hitter for Lake Charles, Louisiana, in its second game at the World Series, shutting out Jeffersonville, Indiana, 9-0. He allowed two baserunners, walking one and hitting another in the six-inning complete game.
Quinn remembers the time fondly. He just prefers to recall the big picture: playing with buddies, hanging out with players from other teams and being interviewed on ESPN. There was even a commercial with the Jonas Brothers.
“He thought he would have to dance,” said his father, Dave, an assistant coach on the team. “He didn’t want to do it; he said [to] let someone else do it. We twisted his arm and he ended up in it.”
There was no dancing, just a few shots of him in his windup and a wink at the end.
Quinn does have photos from the experience in his house, including a picture of him pumping his fist after the no-hitter. There’s also one of him being interviewed on “Baseball Tonight.” And he has the ball from that game.
“There were 20,000 people in the stands,” Quinn said. “That prepped me for college and now. I’ve been in situations like that before; I’ve had millions of people watching me on TV and I wasn’t even a teenager yet.
“I didn’t find it nerve-racking at all.”
Quinn recalled being hit hard — and bailing out — in his previous outing, an 8-7 win in the regional championship to clinch a spot in Williamsport. But when it came to remembering details of his starring moment, Quinn mostly drew a blank.
“I remember one of their dudes was about 6-foot-3. He squared up the ball and he hit me right in the chest. I threw him out,” Quinn said. “After I threw the curveball to win the game, I fist pumped and hugged my buddy Beau [Jordan] and talked to Stacey Dales [on ESPN].”
Most of his memories were about the entire time, not one game.
“It’s the stories that we had outside the game, how fun the [players’ village was],” Quinn said. “We shared dorms with Latin America. Japan was underneath us. Those are the stories we share, like playing ping-pong for the first time against someone who’s Japanese.”
His dad recalled more details from the no-hitter. Dave Quinn called, and charted, the pitches. His son had rolled through the Jeffersonville lineup using his fastball, but in the sixth was facing the top of the lineup for a third time. Dave wanted to mix it up, worried the batters would be used to the fastball. They didn’t want any sort of rally to get started and he wanted to take advantage of aggressive hitters. So he called more curves in the sixth, ending the game on one.
“The most nervous I’ve ever been was on my wedding day, when I saw my beautiful bride and the door opened up, and a close second was that last inning,” Dave Quinn said. “I’m holding that chart in my hand and I’m shaking like a leaf; I can’t write on the chart because my hand is shaking so much.”
Both Quinn and his father made sure to point out the contributions from others, both in the no-hitter and throughout the tournament. Six kids from that team ended up playing Division I baseball; Quinn stopped playing as a sophomore, wanting to focus on football. He also said he enjoyed the adrenaline rush of football and lost his passion for baseball.
Eventual champion Hawaii eliminated Louisiana in the semifinals. But the time in Williamsport was special.
“That’s been the most fun I’ve had in my life, probably,” Quinn said. “Two weeks with your best friends doing that stuff and playing on ESPN, ABC as a 12-year-old is pretty fun.”