By Bill Tamburrino
Nick Vincent is the first Ramona High School graduate to pitch in a major league game.
On May 18, Vincent got a taste of what major league baseball is all about. He got called up to the “bigs” from his assignment in Tucson. He suited up for the San Diego Padres, warmed up in the Padre bullpen to the delight of a large contingency of Ramona fans and received a major league paycheck, but he did not get in the major league game.
Vincent was coming off an ankle sprain and was not at the top of his game. He went back to Tucson, was sent to San Antonio and pitched himself back into shape.
On June 26, Vincent got another call from the parent club. He made the short trip from San Antonio to Houston and on June 26, Vincent got into his first major league game.
The right-handed relief specialist pitched two innings and as the cliché goes, he pounded the strike zone. His out pitch, a cutter (cut fastball) had good movement and he pitched two shutout innings. In those two frames Vincent struck out two, walked one and did not give up a hit.
On June 29, Vincent picked up his first major league victory, again against the Houston Astros. Vincent entered the game with the Padres trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning. He gave up one run on one hit, walked one and struck out one.
In the top of the ninth inning the Padres did something that they had not done in a long time. They had lost 119 straight games when trailing after eight innings.
The Friars rallied for six runs in the ninth inning and nobody was happier than Vincent when Alexi Amarista hit a grand slam home run after the Padres had tied the score. The shot was Amarista’s first major league home run and it gave Vincent his first major league win.