Lily Sparks hurls perfect game, no hitter in Lady Pacer softball victories
Lady Pacer junior Lily Sparks hurled a perfect game on Friday night in a 24-0 five-inning blowout of Shawe Memorial.
Sparks faced 15 batters in the mercy rule-shortened game, striking out 11 Lady Hilltopper batters. It was a dominant performance by the Lady Pacer pitcher, who earned a no-hitter earlier in the week with an 8-0 win over Milan.
But Sparks didn’t just dominate Shawe on the mound, she also went 5-for-5 at the plate with four singles and a double, scoring four runs and having two RBI.
Jessie Duvall also had an explosive night at the plate, blasting a grand slam home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to end the game that was never in doubt.
With Sparks dispatching Lady Hilltopper batters in order, Switzerland County got off to a quiet start offensively, with Sparks scoring in the bottom of the first on a single by Nora Hankins.
The second inning saw the Lady Pacer bats come alive, as Switzerland County scored seven runs.
Madesyn Byrd opened the inning by being hit by a pitch, and then advanced to second on a passed ball by the Shawe catcher. Gabby Abplanalp then singled and McKaila Peelman then reached on a fielder’s choice, cutting down Byrd.
Keirstan Oeffinger then knocked in Abplanalp, and Jessie Duvall singled to load the bases. Maddie Duvall was then hit by a pitch; and moments later Sparks drilled a two-RBI single. Hankins then grounded out shortstop to the first baseman that resulted in an RBI; and Hailey Sainz then posted an RBI single. Byrd was then hit by a pitch for the second time in the inning; and Abplanalp singled but Byrd was cut down at third for the inning’s final out.
If the second inning was exciting, the third inning matched it, as Switzerland County would score six more runs.
With one out Oeffinger reached on an error by the third baseman and Jessie Duvall reached after being hit by a pitch. Maddie Duvall then cleared the bases with a two-RBI triple; and then scored before Sparks ripped a double. Hankins then singled, and Sainz had an RBI double. Byrd then picked up an RBI on a ground out to third, and Abplanalp followed that with an RBI single. Peelman also had a single in the third.
The fourth inning was more of the same for the Lady Pacers, scoring nine more runs.
Oeffinger led off what would be the final inning with a single; and Jessie Duvall reached on an error by the shortstop. Maddie Duvall then reached on an error by the left fielder; and Sparks and Hankins each followed with singles. Sarah Koons then reached on an error by the shortstop; and Byrd had two RBI on a single. Maddie Levell then had a single; and after Peelman grounded out, Oeffinger singled to load the bases.
The brought Jessie Duvall to the plate, and the junior belted a grand slam home run. Maddie Duvall drew a walk and Lily Sparks had her fifth hit of the night in the fifth.
On Wednesday night, April 14th, Lily Sparks continued her pitching dominance with a no-hitter in an 8-0 victory over Milan. She had 15 strikeouts in the game, and only two Lady Indian players reached base — one on a walk and another on an error.
Switzerland County got a run in the opening inning when Jessie Duvall led off the game with a walk and then stole second. Maddie Duvall then reached base on an error by the third baseman scoring Jessie, and Sparks drew a walk. Byrd reached on a fielder’s choice in the first, but the Lady Pacers couldn’t score any other runs.
The Lady Pacers did score three more runs in the second, as Sarah Koons drew a walk to open the inning, and Keirstan Oeffinger reached on an error by the left fielder. Jessie Duvall followed with an RBI double; and Nora Hankins had a two RBI single with two outs. Hailey Sainz also had a single in the second.
With two outs in the third, again it was time for Switzerland County to do some damage.
Oeffinger had a double to get things rolling, and Jessie Duvall followed that with a walk. Maddie Duvall then drilled a single that scored both Oeffinger and Jessie Duvall.
Up 6-0, the Lady Pacer bats went quiet in the fourth and fifth innings, with Sainz getting a single in the fourth being the only hit; but then things heated back up in the sixth, as Sainz kicked things off with a single and a stolen base. Byrd followed that with a single, but McKaila Peelman and Koons both grounded out for the first two outs of the inning.
Oeffinger then reached on an error by the second baseman that plated one run; and Jessie Duvall reached on an error by the shortstop that resulted in the eighth and final run.
On Monday night, April 12th, the Lady Pacers won a low scoring game against South Ripley, 2-0, as Maddie Duvall took center stage with her bat.
The junior second baseman blasted a solo home run in the second inning for one of the Switzerland County runs; and then drove in the second run of the game in the fifth inning on a double that scored Jessie Duvall — who had reached on an error by the catcher and advanced to second on a stolen base.
Those were the only two runs that the Lady Pacers needed, as Lily Sparks pitched another scoreless gem, allowing just four hits while striking out 10.
Nora Hankins had a single in the first for Switzerland County and Madesyn Byrd had a single in the fourth for the only other hits that the Lady Pacers would get in the game.