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Softball: Mulcahy barely misses perfect game

An error in the bottom of the seventh spoils junior Mariah Mulcahy's bid for a perfect game


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Junior ace Mariah Mulcahy was perfect through the first six innings until an error in the top of the seventh spoiled a perfect game and no hitter.She was that close to perfect.

Through six innings on Tuesday, St. Helens junior pitcher Mariah Mulcahy had struck out 13 batters and walked none, without a single David Douglas batter reaching first base. A perfect game.

Someone in the stands must have commented between the sixth and seventh innings, and the Scots, though they didn't come close to winning the game, got to play spoiler. Junior T.J. Rucker bunted the first pitch of the seventh inning, but Mulcahy couldn't get the ball to Taylor Leal on first base, picking up an error and dashing her hopes at a perfect game in one fell swoop.

On the next at bat, David Douglas laid out another easy bunt but junior Alyssa Geisbers couldn't get a handle on it. The Scots got another runner on base via fielder's choice a moment later, and just like that, after barring David Douglas from nabbing a hit through six innings, the bases were loaded.

With the pressure off, Mulcahy got to work, striking out the next batter and serving up a pair of easy defensive plays to shut down any hope of a Scot rally.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - St. Helens sophomore Taylor Leal slides in to home plate during the Lions' 6-0 win over David Douglas on April 8.“[I'm a] little bit disappointed with our bunt coverage right at the end,” said Head Coach Jeff Edwards. “It's disappointing that we have a perfect game/no-hitter going, and we let it go. You're not going to get many opportunities, and we let a no-hitter go, but it is what it is, we're getting close and she's getting healthy.”

On offense though, Edwards was slightly critical of the team's ability to score, given the inexperienced pitcher in the circle for David Douglas. The Lions were able to take advantage of five Scot errors and knocked in a run in the second inning to open the afternoon's books.

“This is not going to be one of the stronger hitting teams that we play, but we definitely controlled the thing. I was a little disappointed with our lack of offensive hitting, but we did manufacture runs via the bunt,” he said. “It's our first shutout of the year, and I'll take it.”

With Mulcahy already on first base, Geisbers attempted a sacrifice bunt to move Mulcahy down the line. It would have worked, except for an error at first base that allowed Geisbers to reach second, sending Mulcahy on to third. Senior Hailee Fischer was up next, and worked the exact same magic, capitalizing on an error by the second baseman to score Mulcahy.

Senior Stevie Strawn came up with another gem in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded, Strawn singled to center field, but David Douglas struggled to corral the bouncing ball, allowing Fischer to score. Sophomore Kayla Finch scampered in during the next at-bat, putting the Lions up 4-0.

The bottom of the fifth brought a bit of a wacky play into the mix. Geisbers bunted up the middle, a ball that was picked up by the Scot catcher and hurled toward first base. The ball bounced off of Geisbers’ shoulder and she was called out by interference, forcing Michelle Sass and Taylor Leal back to second and third.

Fischer, who was next up to bat, decided to take matters into her own hands, knocking the pitch over the second baseman's head and into the outfield, scoring Sass and Leal to put the Lions up by six just before the fateful seventh inning.

In her near-perfect effort, Mulcahy finished with 14 strikeouts and no walks, with the defense picking up seven fly balls.

Stevie Strawn and Hailee Fischer paced the Lions on offense, finishing with two and three RBIs respectively. St. Helens took advantage of four errors from David Douglas and a youthful pitching staff that allowed six runs on eight hits, striking out none and walking none in six innings.

The Lions will travel to Jesuit on Thursday with the first pitch just after 5 p.m. Their league opener will take play on Tuesday, April 15 against Sherwood, also at 5 p.m.

SUMMARY

St. Helens 6, David Douglas 0

DAVD 000 000 0 – 0 0 5

STHE 010 320 x – 6 8 2

St. Helens

Hits (8): Ashley Geisbers, Leal 2, Mulcahy, Alyssa Geisbers, Fischer 2, Strawn

RBIs (4): Fischer 3, Strawn 2

Runs (6): Sass, Leal, Mulcahy, Alyssa Geisbers, Fischer, Finch