It didn't take long for Lewis-Palmer senior Jason Shuger to show that he's one of the best pitchers in the Pikes Peak region.
In first start this season, he threw a no-hitter.
But that wasn't a fluke.
Just last week, he threw another no-hitter — this time in a performance that featured 12 strikeouts during a 12-1 win over Sand Creek, which scored an unearned run on a walk and two errors.
"It was around the third inning, when they weren't really making contact," Shuger said about the Scorpions. "I had good control over all my pitches, good movement, good velocity. I was like, 'OK, I might be able to do it again.'"
According to MaxPreps, only two other pitchers in the nation have more no-hitters than him. And that number is three.
Shuger's efforts landed him this week's Gazette Preps Peak Performer.
"Getting out there and throwing like I did was very beneficial to me," he said.
So far, he boasts 66 strikeouts, one shutout and a 2.51 ERA in 30 2/3 innings pitched, third most in the state.
He's not so shabby at the plate, either. He's batting .419 with 17 RBIs, 13 hits, eight doubles and one home run.
"He's coming to his own his senior year," Lewis-Palmer coach Brett Lester said. "He's throwing a lot more first-pitch strikes, working ahead in the count. It's something that he's been training hard for. He's in midseason form from the get-go this year."
To start off his senior season, the Air Force-bound pitcher threw a no-hitter in a 5-0 win over Ponderosa on March 7. He had 13 strikeouts, the first of three outings in which he has sat down more than a dozen batters.
He's far from being done, of course.
So is Lewis-Palmer, which is 8-4 overall and 4-0 in the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference before its league game against Falcon (2-9, 0-4) on Tuesday. The Rangers have a stacked team that features four college-bound players, and they want to host a home playoff game.
In the past, their RPI rating hasn't been enough to land that opportunity despite winning records under Lester's guidance.
Even when the Rangers earned their last conference title in 2015 — and eventual spot in the Class 4A title game — they did not host a postseason game. They hope they can change their luck this year.
Lester and the rest of the Rangers know Shuger will play a big role in this effort.
"I'm trying to host a playoff game this year instead of driving all over the state," Shuger said. "I'm really just trying to give my team the best chance to win."
Just the Facts
Jason Shuger, Lewis-Palmer
Highlights: He threw his second no-hitter in a 12-1 win over Sand Creek last week. He had 12 strikeouts. His other no-hitter was during a 5-0 over Ponderosa in the season opener. His two no-hitters lead the state and put him second in the nation.
Favorite movie: "The Dark Knight"
Favorite pumpup song: "Legacy" by Offset
Favorite team: Colorado Rockies
Favorite musician: Billy Joel
Favorite school subject: Math
Other Top Performers
Wiley Burkett and Ike Eastburn, Cheyenne Mountain
The seniors scored four goals each in the top-ranked Indians' 19-4 win over Steamboat Springs last Friday. Eastburn had a hat trick before halftime as he also finished with four assists. Burkett contributed three goals for defending Class 4A champion Cheyenne Mountain, which improved to 6-2 overall.
Hallie Apodaca, Doherty
The senior scored a hat trick to lead the Spartans to a dominant 8-0 win over Vista Ridge last weekend. It was the first time she scored all season, as Doherty boasts a 3-4 overall record entering this week.
Zoey Shank, Sand Creek
The junior scored three of the Scorpions' five goals in last week's wins over Cheyenne Mountain and Dakota Ridge. In a 2-0 win over Cheyenne Mountain to open the Class 5A/4A Pikes Peak Athletics Conference, she had one goal. She followed up that performance with two scores in a 3-1 win over Dakota Ridge to lead Sand Creek to an impressive 9-0 record.
Boys' swimming and diving
Quintin McCarty, Discovery Canyon
In one of the biggest meets so far this season, the freshman had a breakout performance. He took first in the 100-yard backstroke in 51.53 seconds and the 200 individual medley, respectively, to help the Thunder to a dominant team victory at the Cheyenne Mountain Invitational. Discovery Canyon won with 489.5 points — 158 more than the runner-up, Pine Creek.
Janea Kite, Sand Creek
The sophomore came away with a dominant 6-0, 6-1 win over Sierra in the No. 2 singles match during her team's 7-0 nonconference win last week. So far, she has a 4-0 record as the Scorpions boast a 4-1 overall record.
Morgan Hall, Cheyenne Mountain
Her senior campaign has been impressive so far. Last week, Hall beat Coronado 6-0, 6-0 in No. 1 singles as the Indians are looking to make another state championship run. Cheyenne Mountain is 3-1 overall.