No matter the score or number of innings played, a perfect game is just that.
West Hall junior pitcher Emily Hammond recorded seven strikeouts, walked none and allowed no hits in her team’s 23-0 rout of Johnson in three innings Tuesday in Oakwood.
Hammond also struck out the side in the first and third innings.
"Emily was huge for us," Lady Spartans (6-1, 1-0 Region 7B-AAA) coach Warren Sellers said. "Anytime you can return your No. 1 pitcher it’s a luxury, and I am very pleased with her effort."
West Hall came into Tuesday’s game with Johnson (0-1, 0-1 Region 7B-AAA) on a momentum high after finishing in third place, with a record of 5-1, at the 16-team Lanier Point Invitational.
"The tournament last weekend was good for us," Sellers said. "It showed us what we needed to work on, but also gave us some confidence."
Confidence that was evident early and often against the Lady Knights.
In the first inning, West Hall struck for three runs, all coming with two outs.
Morgan Strickland and Kiley Kirkland, who had a triple, each had hits and an RBI in the inning.
Both girls finished the day 1-for-1 with an RBI.
The other run of the first inning, a score by Madison Strickland, came via a wild pitch.
It was in the second inning, however, that the Lady Spartans showed their muscle, and patience.
Nine walks, three batters hit by a pitch and two batters who reached on Johnson’s fielding errors culminated in the scoring of 13 runs.
The scoring wasn’t all because of Lady Knights’ mistakes, however. Hammond hit a sacrifice fly to score Hannah Derthick and Madison and Morgan Strickland scored on an infield single by Miranda Miller.
"We came in focused and excited," Sellers said. "We were ready to go."
The Lady Spartans scored 10 runs in the top of the third thanks to six hits, RBIs by Kristen Bryant and Madison Strickland and four walks.
West Hall ended its scoring rampage having hit the ball only eight times.
Due to the mercy rule, West Hall had to get Johnson out in the bottom of the third without the Lady Knights scoring three or more runs to win.
Hammond struck out the side to end the game.
"We made the plays we were supposed to make," Sellers said. "We have Thursday off so we have three hard days of practice coming up.
"We are going to forget about this and start working hard (today)."
Johnson next plays host to Chestatee at 5:55 p.m. Thursday while West Hall travels to Chestatee to play at 5:55 p.m. Tuesday.