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August 19, 2013

Fantasy Matchups: 1989 Salem vs. 2003 Peabody baseball

(Continued)

“The way Jeff pitched, it was kind of boring standing in the outfield,” said left fielder/pitcher Anthony Palmieri, a childhood friend who was Allison’s catcher from Little League until high school, when Bryan Garrity took over behind the plate. “There was nobody you would rather have on the mound than Jeff.”

Allison’s trips to the mound in ‘03 could fill a highlight reel. He allowed one hit and struck out 15 while walking only one in a 4-0 victory over Malden in early May with 30 major league scouts on hand. He threw only 98 pitches in that game; 75 were strikes. The radar gun clocked his fastball between 91-93 mph while his breaking ball was in the low 80s.

“He’s definitely the best pitcher we’ve seen,” Malden coch Kevin Carpenito told Salem News reporter Matt Jenkins after the game. “I just tell the kids to have some fun and don’t take it so hard, because he’s probably going to be pitching for the Red Sox next year.”

His first no-hitter of the season came against Cambridge on the road, 2-0, and he rang up 20 K’s (whiffing the first 17 he faced) in a 10-1 victory over Somerville, when his fastball registered 98 on the radar guns on one strikeout. Allison did it all that night, driving in six runs with a single, triple, and homer, too.

“When I get finished talking with you I’m going to call Sports Illustrated,” said Peabody head coach Ed Nizwantowski to reporters after the game. “In 34 years I’ve never seen a performance so dominating.”

Looking back on that game, Allison -- Baseball America’s National Player of the Year and a USA Today First Team All-American -- remembers looking behind him at one point and wondering if his defense would be ready to field a ball if it came their way. “I knew I was striking out a lot (of guys), but didn’t realize it was 20,” he said. “I got in a rhythm and let the rhythm and flow of each game take me through.”

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