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Lopez has perfect day
If it's possible to learn how to keep perfection in perspective, Ashley Lopez is the person who should teach the course.
On Tuesday, Lopez held the holy grail of high school fastpitch in her hands when she pitched the first perfect game in the history of the South Whidbey program. But to hear her talk about it, the 47-pitch outing against Granite Falls in the 10-0 Falcon road win was just another day on the mound.
"I just took it inning by inning," she said Thursday.
The performance was the third instance of overpowering pitching inside of four days. Freshman hurler Christie Robinson bookended Lopez's feat with a one-hit complete game Monday, then came back Wednesday to gun down Blaine in a two-hit, 119-pitch outing for the 6-0 Falcons.
Crediting years of extra coaching for her work this week, Lopez said she kept both her mind and a tender pitching shoulder working the pitches rather than the possibilities. She said she made a quiet promise to the batters opposing her with every pitch to the plate.
"I'd just think to myself, 'Well the next one's going to be even better,' " she said.
This is the second time in her pitching career Lopez has made it through a game without giving up a hit, run or walk -- the first came while on the mound for her South Whidbey Little League team as a 14-year-old. Her coach, Todd Lubach, said that like all the other girls on his team, Lopez provided her own motivation in the game.
"You don't need to do anything to drive these girls," he said.
The week's games did not feature just peerless pitching: Falcon hitters battered Granite Falls and Blaine, sending them back to the locker room early by chalking up winning scores of 10-0 against the Tigers and 18-0 against the Borderites. In the second game of the pair, the Falcons produced five extra-base hits as sophomore Bronwyn Russell went 4-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored, and senior Keasha Campbell smacked out a 3-for-3 appearance with one RBI and two runs scored.
During Tuesday's game, Shannon Brown doubled, tripled, drove in a run and scored a run of her own, while Julie Robinson doubled twice and drove in two runs. The intensity of the hit parade, said Coach Lubach, was something he had not entirely expected.
"I didn't know we were going to hit as well as we did," he said.
The team gets a break in the action during South Whidbey High School's spring break. The Falcons next play on April 16 in a road game against Lynden Christian.