Pitch Perfect

 Liam Hendriks pitches during the MLB playoffs.
Pitch Perfect
Liam Hendriks pitches during the MLB playoffs.

THE Perth father of Major League Baseball pitcher Liam Hendriks has spoken of his son�s record-breaking feat for the Toronto Blue Jays during the side�s playoffs campaign against the Kansas City Royals.

Geoff Hendriks, a top sportsman in his own right as a life member of WAFL club West Perth, had some early starts this month watching from Perth as Liam�s Blue Jays looked to defeat the Royals in a best-of-seven battle to qualify for the World Series against the New York Mets.

While Hendriks was denied the dream of playing for an MLB championship ring when the Royals won the series 4-2 on Friday night in Kansas City, the local sporting product will not forget the Blue Jays� 2015 playoffs appearance any time soon.

He caused a stir in Game 4 last week when he broke an 85-year-old play-off record for more-outs-than-batters-faced performances.

Pitching against his old side, the 26-year-old West Australian returned 13 outs from 12 batters faced during his time on the mound, which began in the second inning.

The unlikely statistic arose because he came on with Kansas City at two batters down and had not yet thrown a pitch when he picked off the Royals� Alcides Escobar at second base to end their inning as their third out.

He threw for another four innings, in which 12 batters fell to bring his total outs to 13 from 12 batters faced given he faced no batters in the inning he picked off Escobar. Unfortunately for Toronto, Kansas City went on to convincingly win the game 14-2.

The former record was achieved by the Cardinals� Jim Lindsey with eight outs and seven batters faced in 1930. Geoff Hendriks, while proud of his son, was matter of fact about the achievement.

�These things are what come along by effectively doing your job,� he said.

�When I was talking with Liam afterwards, he obviously had no idea what records were in place.

�He was more concerned about staying in the game.�

Mr Hendriks talked of Liam�s satisfaction at being included in Toronto�s play-offs line-up after missing out last year when he was on Kansas City�s roster.

He was left out of the Royals side that went on to a losing World Series against San Francisco.

�When you play at that level it�s what you aspire to do,� Mr Hendriks said.

�We�re proud of the boy� the hurdles you�ve got to overcome to compete on that world scene � so few people do it.

�He doesn�t cut corners, he doesn�t like people who do and he understands what he needs to do to get the level he wants to get to.�

He said Liam had told him of the unpredictability of his role as a relief pitcher, where his chances of making an appearance were limited to certain situations.

And while his son�s living centred on America�s favourite pastime, he took a particularly Australian approach to pre-match preparation in kicking a football around the ballpark in the lead-up to games.

As a teenager, the former Sacred Heart College student was touted as an AFL prospect before his baseball talents took him to the US. Mr Hendriks, a WA scout for the Sydney Swans, said the only issue with his son�s pre-game ritual was finding someone who could kick the ball back to him.

�They�re still trying to find people in the club to kick with him,� he said.

�The best person to kick is Pete Walker the pitching coach; he (Liam) said it�s not a great style but very effective.�

Hendriks was the fifth Australian to feature in an MLB post season and is hoping to become only the second to win a World Series ring after Sport Australia Hall of Fame member Graeme Lloyd�s two rings with the New York Yankees in 1996 and 1998.