TUCKERS 22, BEARS 0 (5 INNINGS)
Mattituck pitcher Sara Perkins picked up an error in the second inning, but it worked out for her in the end. She gained a no-hitter.
Perkins tossed her first career no-hitter on Monday — and came so close to a perfect game — when the visiting Tuckers beat The Stony Brook School, 22-0, in a League VII/League VIII crossover game that was stopped after five innings because of the mercy rule. The senior right-hander, who also hit her first career home run in the game, recorded seven strikeouts and did not issue a walk. She induced three flyouts and five groundouts.
“I can’t remember [a game in which] I pitched much better,” she said.
Perkins was thisclose to being perfect.
The only Stony Brook base runner came in the second inning when Linnea Piazza drove the ball between Perkins’ legs and through the infield. Although some saw it as a hit, it was ruled an error, keeping Perkins’ no-hitter intact.
There were no other serious threats to the no-hit bid as Perkins retired the next 10 Bears in order.
“She looked really good today, really great, like no walks,” Mattituck left fielder Lisa Angell said. “She had great stats today.”
Perkins said the thought of whether or not she had pitched a no-hitter didn’t occur to her until after Nicole Willoughby grounded out to first baseman Courtney Ficner for the game’s final out.
Perkins said: “At the end of the game, the thought kind of crossed my mind, and I guess it all came down to, I was thinking: ‘Was that an error or a hit? I think it was an error. It went through my legs,’ so I was kind of hoping it was an error.”
Mattituck coach Kelly Pickering, who did not know the last time the Tuckers pitched a no-hitter, said there was no question that the ball Piazza hit produced an error and not a hit.
What made the game undoubtedly extra special for Perkins was her home run, a three-run blast over the short fence in right field during a devastating third-inning rally. Melissa Siegfried, Brittany Tumulty and Ficner opened the inning with successive singles before Perkins stepped into the batter’s box with two runners on base. A glance at the short porch in right field may have put a thought into her head.
“I saw that fence,” she said. “I was like: ‘Hmmm. It’s kind of close.’ ”
The homer underscored Perkins’ ability to hit, as well as pitch.
“She spends a lot of time in the cage,” Pickering said. “She got off to a slow start [this season], and she’s come around and probably has been one of my more consistent hitters throughout the season.”
The only run Mattituck (3-8, 3-7 League VII) needed in the game between the two last-place teams in their leagues was scored by Siegfried on an errant throw in the first inning.
Mattituck didn’t register its first hit until the third inning, but then more than made up for it. The Tuckers made 18 plate appearances that inning, scoring 14 runs on eight hits, five walks and three errors for a 15-0 lead. The long rally also featured a three-run double by Angell.
Angell and Perkins had four runs batted in each for the game. Siegfried went 3 for 3, scored five times, drove in a run, doubled, stole two bases and walked twice.
Altogether, the Tuckers totaled 11 hits, took 15 walks (four by Ficner) and stole nine bases (three by Cassie Pelan) as they snapped a four-game losing streak. Eight of the nine Mattituck batters managed at least one hit. The win had to be good for their psyche.
“It’s huge for us because we’ve been not playing as well as we should be the past couple of games,” Perkins said. “We’ve been losing ones we should win, so the fact that we were able to come out on top today really helped us a lot.”
Pickering said: “We were in a little bit of a slump. We lost some games we should have won. You know, this was one that we needed.”
It was the ninth straight loss for Stony Brook (1-11, 0-11 League VIII).
In order to qualify for the playoffs, Mattituck would have to win out the remaining six games on its schedule, no easy task, to be sure.
“That would be a tall order, not impossible, but it’s going to be a lot of work,” said Pickering.
After the game, Perkins’ father, Rich, flipped the home-run ball to his daughter. A souvenir. The latest addition to her trophy case has a neat story to go with it.