Allie Brock wasn’t aware she had started a perfect game, and teammate Grace Neer didn’t know she was finishing one.
“I think we were just focused more on hitting than (what we were doing) in the field,” Brock said. “We were really pumped up on hitting.”
It wasn’t until after the
La Grande Tigers’ 15-0 win over Ontario in game two of their Greater Oregon League softball doubleheader sweep Friday that the duo learned they had tossed a combined perfect game, retiring all 15 batters they faced.
“I think it’s really cool that we worked together to accomplish that,” Brock said.
Brock struck out half of the 12 batters she faced in four innings, with three of the strikeouts looking. She struck two batters in both the first and fourth innings.
Neer took over in the fifth with the Tigers well ahead and proceeded to open the inning with a strikeout looking and then record a pair of groundouts to complete the perfect effort.
“I just tried to stay relaxed and calm,” Neer said. “I can’t really mess up anything. We had a lot of runs.”
Nobody on the team, in fact, was aware the perfect game was taking place.
“I had no idea,” outfielder Kara Gooderham said. “I knew (they) didn’t have many people on, but I think we were all so focused on the game and doing well and getting a win.”
Head coach Woody Wright said he learned of it early in the fifth inning.
“A dad that was keeping track of that said, ‘Hey, you’ve got a perfect game going here,’” Wright said.
La Grande quickly put the second game Friday out of reach with a nine-run first inning. Jayce Seavert’s RBI double, an RBI groundout by Jaiden Hafer and RBI singles by both Sophie Bell and Lexee Gomes made it 4-0. Alaina Carson reached on an error to allow three more runs to score, and Gooderham followed with an RBI triple and scored on an error on the play to cap the onslaught.
Hafer added an RBI single in the second and a two-run home run in the fourth. Gooderham and Seavert both hit RBI doubles in the fourth — Gooderham’s driving in two runs — for the final margin. It also gives La Grande nine straight games with 10 or more runs, 12 such games overall on the season, and was the team’s ninth shutout.
“We’re all here for the same reason. We’re all here to win, we’re all here to succeed. We’re really close (to one another),” Gooderham said.
The game capped another dominant sweep of Ontario by La Grande, which won two road games when the teams met earlier this season by a combined score of 42-1.
La Grande won the opener of the doubleheader Friday, 11-1, scoring the final 11 runs of the game after Lexy Navarrete hit a leadoff home run for Ontario off Brock.
Brock settled in to strike out nine batters over four innings and didn’t allow another hit, then carried the effort into the nightcap.
“Usually I just have to let those things go. I can’t hang on to that,” Brock said of the home run. “I think it does help you more to focus after they hit you like that.”
La Grande quickly regained the lead in the opener, with a Jacie Howton two-run double giving La Grande a 2-1 lead.
The Tigers exploded for seven runs in the seventh, highlighted by a two-run home run by Kinzy Bowen and a three-run double by Hafer for a 9-1 lead.
“Top to bottom (in the lineup) can hit the long ball,” Wright said. “I’m really pleased with the younger kids coming up and producing.”
Seavert’s RBI double in the third and Neer’s solo home run in the fourth capped the scoring for La Grande.
“It was awesome,” Neer said of the hit parade. “We just kept talking, having a lot of fun in the dugout. It’s contagious.”
The Tigers host Baker for a doubleheader Friday and can clinch a share of the GOL title with a sweep.