Perfection on the pitcher’s mound

Jose De Los Santos and Ernesto Lopez

Softball pitcher Hanna Shafer has a lot to celebrate: she recently reached a couple of milestones not every player has the honor to claim.

On Feb. 21, Shafer pitched a perfect game, and on March 2, she pitched a no hitter.

Against the Brahmas of L.A. Pierce College, Shafer retired all 18 batters she faced, striking out 5 and forcing the other 13 to ground out.

“(Last season) we were in a struggle,” said the humble Shafer, who gave credit to her teammates for her recent success. “This season we’re on a roll.”

Facing the Brahmas, the Knights outfielders never even broke a sweat, while consistent defense from infielders such as Brittany Wright and Ashley Whitmore helped Shafer achieve perfection.

“I’ve got better defense behind me,” Shafer said. “So I feel more comfortable, if I don’t get a strikeout, I can put the ball on the ground.”

In the top of the sixth inning, two L.A. players grounded out to third base before Shafer struck out the third batter. In the bottom of the sixth, Wright hit a solo home run that pushed City College’s lead to 8-0, ending the game due to the mercy rule.

“A perfect game is extremely rare,” said coach LeeAnn Taylor. “Most pitchers never achieve it.

“It takes a total team effort, Taylor added. “Everyone has to be perfect, not just the pitcher.”

In the Knights’ 9-1 victory at Imperial Valley College on March 2, Shafer again did not allow a ball out of the infield. Imperial Valley got their only run in the second inning, off three infield errors and a passed ball.

Regarding what these achievements do for Shafer’s game, the coach said, “It should give Hannah tons of confidence, not only in her ability to be a great pitcher but in the ability of her team behind her to make the plays and get the hits needed to score runs and win.”

Shafer has full confidence in the team’s playoff chances.

“We’ve been on a hot streak, and if we keep this up, we will win conference and head to state,” she predicted.

At press time, the softball team had a conference record of 3-0. To follow the team, visit www.sdcity.edu/athletics.