Student 250K MLB2K13: Undergrad Wins Virtual Pitching Challenge

Friday, 19 Jul 2013 10:08 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Justin Chavvarria, a former high school pitcher, earned $250,000 winning the "MLB 2K13" Perfect Game Challenge, a nationwide contest in which baseball fans and athletes compete virtually in the popular baseball video game.

Chavarria, 21, of Eugene, Oregon, beat out two other players Tuesday in the single-elimination tournament that corresponded with the MLB All-Star Game earlier this week, CNN reported.

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The game’s publisher, 2K Sports, said it employed an algorithm to rank perfect games based on degree of difficulty and perfection. Chavarria’s perfect games were more perfect than his opponents, who reportedly also pitched perfect games but not to the same level as the 21-year-old from Oregon.

In total, there were more than 2,500 perfect games during the competition in which the pitcher threw 27 consecutive outs during the nine-inning game, without allowing a single player from the opposite team to get on base.

It took Chavarria 30 days, he says, before he was able to virtually pitch a perfect game that qualified him for the playoffs, according to CNN.

Chavarria’s strategy is simple: use "the best (available) pitcher against the worst team."

Chavarria used Miami Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey to pitch the perfect game that won him the challenge.

In real-life, Slowey has never pitched a perfect game or had a no-hitter in the majors. His pitching record is 42 wins and 35 losses with a lifetime ERA of 4.57 during his six years in the league.

A pitcher in high school, Chavarria said his background helped him throughout the competition.

"Yeah, it really helped a lot, like when to throw pitches in certain counts," he told CNN in an interview. "It is a video game, so you don't have to be a star athlete or a pitcher in the MLB. It helps to have that knowledge ... to know the art of pitching."

Despite being a lifetime New York Yankees fan, Chavarria chose the Texas Rangers as his team in the tournament.

The Rangers "had a pretty strong lineup for the past couple of years and I felt comfortable with what they gave me," Chavarria said. "They've got guys who can hit home runs against lefties and righties [and] their pitching is not bad."

As for the quarter million dollar worth of winnings, Chavarria says he will most go towards his college tuition, while adding "I plan to spoil myself a little bit and my dad and some other family members."

Chavarria is currently an undergraduate at the University of Oregon.

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