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Glen Oaks Little Leaguer is pitch perfect

Rishi Durjan became only the second pitcher in the history of the Glen Oaks Little League to throw a perfect game late last month when he retired 21 straight batters, including 10 by strikeout, while giving up no walks.

The 14-year-old was so dominant that only one batter managed to hit a ball past the infield, which wound up as a fly out to center field.

Rishi’s team, the Glen Oaks Brewers, won 10-0.

The Bellerose teen said he thought nothing of his feat May 22 at Ulmer Field in College Point until he saw Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga lose a perfect game with one out to go in the ninth inning because of a blown umpire call at first base.

“I first didn’t really think it was that big, but after that game with Armando Galarraga, that’s when I figured a perfect game is really rare,” Rishi said in an interview Monday. “You should be proud of it.”

The eighth-grader at MS 172 in Floral Park came close to pitching a perfect game before. He threw a no-hitter in that game´╗┐.

Rishi said a “pretty close play” at first base early in the game ´╗┐kept the perfect game intact along with another tough play at third base as well as a play where he barehanded a ball off a bunt and threw it to first base.

The teen said he hopes to play for the junior varsity team next year at the Queens High School of Teaching in Glen Oaks, where he plans to attend high school.

Since he was 7, Rishi said he had always dreamed of making it big in baseball.

“I want to go to the Major Leagues,” said Rishi, whose favorite team is the Yankees. He tries to model himself after Andy Pettitte.

It took Rishi only 60 pitches — less than 10 an inning — to throw the perfect game. Glen Oaks Little League rules limit pitchers to a pitch count of 95 before they have to be replaced.

Rishi’s coach, Eddie Campana, said the 14-year-old’s teammates supported him with sharp defensive plays.

“In the end of the day, all the boys helped him hold on to his perfect game. Everyone contributed,” Campana said.

“It was a great accomplishment. He’s a good kid. I’m happy it happened for him,” he said.

Rishi’s father, Sivdat Durjan, 54, was there to watch his son.

“It was unbelievable. Everybody was so excited. It was a rare event. Very proud of him,” Durjan said. “I just was looking at him, looking at every pitch, and I knew he was pitching the best game of his career so far. It was a great game he pitched and I’m extremely proud of him.”

Rishi, who also plays first base and some outfield, began pitching when he was 8 or 9 and has four pitches in his repertoire: a fastball, a curveball, a two-seam fastball and a slider.

He said he only needed his fastball and curveball when he threw the perfect game and used the umpire’s calls to his benefit.

“I had a really good advantage,” Rishi said. “The umpire was calling the low strikes so I took advantage of that. I kept myself relaxed.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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