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Wacha destined for the Majors

Former Pleasant Grove pitcher to make playoff start with the St. Louis Cardinals

TEXARKANA, TX - St. Louis Cardinals rookie pitcher Michael Wacha was destined to play in the big leagues.

"When you put him on the mound, you wouldn't know that he was nervous," Karen Wacha, Michael's mother said. "Maybe before the game, but once he throws the first pitch, it's like, here we go."

Hats, plaques, and jerseys hang from the walls of his childhood home in Texarkana, TX. The same home his father Tom and mother Karen watched him come one out away from throwing a no-hitter.

"Me, my daughter, and my wife didn't move from the couch that night," Tom Wacha, Michael's father said. "The phone was blowing up, but we didn't answer. It was quite a night."

The width of a hand separated Wacha from becoming only the 22nd rookie in MLB history to throw a no-hitter. Wacha lost his no-hit bid on Ryan Zimmerman's infield single with two outs in the ninth inning, and St. Louis beat the Washington Nationals 2-0. 

"Pete Kozma made a heck of an effort, trying to make the play," said Wacha. "I guess it just wasn't meant to be, but there's nothing I would take back about that night."

Michael's reaction was the calmest, but his parents couldn't contain their emotion.

"Exploded out of the chair, and then I saw the ump put his hands out and I said are you kidding me?", Karen said.

Even the neighborhood was wrapped up in the late-inning drama.

"Our neighbor right across the road, door flew open, he was going off," his father said.

Wacha will start game four of the NLDS, with the Cardinals trailing the Pirates 2-games-to-1 in the best of five series. The rookie is 4-1 with a 2.78 era.

The rookie was a pitcher on two state championship teams at Pleasant Grove high school in Texarkana, TX. He later pitched at Texas A&M University. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Wacha in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft.

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