Werner tosses no-hitter, Cats defeat PatsApril 6, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
JASPER — Tuesday evening’s dazzling sunset painted a perfect softball portrait. A calm breeze drifted through the air as Heritage Hills (1-2) and Jasper (4-0) faced off in a tight contest. The environment was breathtaking, but Jasper senior Mia Werner manufactured the true Kodak moment.
Werner crafted a gem of a no-hitter in the Wildcats’ 1-0 victory over the Patriots. She struck out eight batters and did not allow a walk in the win.
“It was very exciting,” Werner said. “It was definitely a thriller of a game. We showed up. We just had high intensity there.”
A stalemate unfolded in the first two innings. Neither team scratched, and Heritage Hills came up scoreless in its half of the third inning. Werner mixed her speeds and painted each corner of the strike zone.
“Mia was able to throw almost every pitch that she wanted to tonight,” Jasper head coach Matt Pryor said. “It was effective. It was fun calling pitches when she’s got stuff working like that.”
Jasper junior Kylie Morton led off the bottom of the third frame with a walk. After she stole second base, the Pats forced two consecutive outs. Werner dug her heels in the batter’s box with two outs and Morton in scoring position.
She promptly ripped a shot that banged off the left-field wall. While Werner hustled to second base for a stand-up double, Morton turned on the jets and came around to score. The go-ahead run turned out to be the game’s lone tally, but it proved to be all Jasper needed.
“The way that Mia conducted herself and made adjustments on her second at-bat to get a good hit — that’s a sign of a very mature player,” Pryor said. “It’s someone that was focused and hungry for the win.”
The Pats put the pressure on Jasper’s defense in the middle innings. Several hard ground balls forced the Cats to make plays. Jasper executed some challenging putouts and kept the slim lead intact.
The Cats threatened to score in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the opportunity fizzled.
Jasper committed two consecutive errors in the top of the seventh inning, which placed Werner in a precarious position. She hunkered down and polished off her no-hitter with a strikeout.
“Last year, we didn’t get our season,” Werner said. “This year, it just feels like we picked right back up where we left off. It feels great to be out there. We’re having some fun, at least.”
The pitching duel presented an intriguing dynamic — freshman against senior.
Heritage Hills freshman Rylie Schipp struck out 11 batters, issued just two walks and scattered five hits across her six innings of work.
“We wanted to come over here and get better from playing this game,” Heritage Hills head coach Joe Asbury said. “I think we did. It’s an intensity level that is a little bit higher than our first two games. I think our kids responded. We put the ball in play several times, but we really couldn’t hit like we wanted to. It’s early in the season. We’ve got young kids, and it’s all part of it.”
Heritage Hills returns for a 6 p.m. game against Pocket Athletic Conference foe Washington this evening in Lincoln City.
“Obviously, we want to get off in a good way,” Asbury said. “It’s our first home game, so that’s nice. It’s our first conference game, so that’s nice. We expect to continue this momentum and get our bats going.”
Jasper meets Barr-Reeve at 5 p.m. this evening in Montgomery.
“We’re getting ready for that part of our season where we’re gone a lot,” Pryor said. “We’re getting there, getting focused and going. Sometimes, road games aren’t that bad. You don’t have time to sit at home and wait around. A lot of times, we’re here early. It can sometimes be a bad thing to get too loose and not get focused, so we don’t oppose those road games.”
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