It may have been senior night for the Titusville softball team but it wasn’t just the seniors that shined for the Rockets during Tuesday’s Region 5 showdown against the Oil City Oilers.
Freshmen hurler Audrey Herman fired her first career no-hitter, while senior Lindsey Kemp drove home three runs on two singles to lead the Rockets past the Oilers, 13-0, in five innings.
The Rockets (6-8 overall, 3-3 Region 5) tallied four runs in the opening frame to back Herman on the mound, and then added three and five more runs in the second and third, respectively.
Amber Scott legged out a two-run triple in the second frame while Emily Finley smacked a pair or RBI doubles. McKenna Houck added a single and a triple that both chased home a run. Isabella Sutley singled twice, Lindsay Sines singled and Torrance Snyder reach base in all three plate appearances via two walks and a hit by pitch.
Herman struck out five Oilers (1-12 overall, 0-6 Region 5) and did not allow a runner to reach scoring position during her no-hit bid. The only hiccup was a two-out walk by Ashia Jackson on a full count in the top of second inning.
When the final out was made in the top of the fifth inning, Herman didn’t realize what she had accomplished until she was told about her feat after the game.
“I just did what I normally did,” Herman said. “The girls behind me did a really good job too. I have the best defense to work with so that helped out. I wasn’t afraid to throw good pitches because of them.”
It seems like in every no-hitter or perfect game, the defense steps up for their pitcher to help get the job done. Tuesday was no different. Titusville played a clean defensive game with no errors committed, and senior Kaitlyn Russell snagged a few hard-hit balls at second base to help preserve Herman’s no-hitter.
The most notable play came with one out in the top of the fifth when Jackson smacked a hard ground ball toward Russell. The Rocket second baseman knocked the ball down and stayed with it to throw out Jackson at first. Russell noted after the game that she was aware that the play saved a no-hitter and is glad to play defensively close to first base.
“I knew there was a no-hitter happening and it was stressful,” Russell said. “I bobbled it, but thankfully I play second base so I have plenty of time. I’m just grateful that I am close to first to play off of the bobble.”
Russell and Kemp were the two Titusville seniors honored during Tuesday’s festivities and they both have helped lead the Rockets to three straight victories following a rough start to the season.
Kemp singled home a run in the top of the first inning before driving home two more runs on a single in the top of the third frame. The Rockets’ shortstop has been reliable in the field and at the plate, compiling a .450 batting average with two doubles and two triples. Meanwhile, Russell has been a stabilizing force for the Rocket defense at second base. Both have different leadership styles but are equally proud of how the underclassmen have improved throughout the season.
“I’m not someone that tends to really speak out,” Kemp said. “I just try to do the best that I can because I know (my younger teammates) can learn from me if I’m doing the best that I can. I love having an influence in how they’re playing. I know that every day they are doing the best they can and it’s amazing to see them improve over time. I know what it’s like to be that freshman that may be having a hard time, but my upperclassmen pushed me, and now I’m trying to do the same for them.”
“I’m so proud of every single girl on the team,” Russell added. “We had a rough start at the beginning of the season with a very young team. They have improved and worked their butts off every single day. It’s awesome to get to grow with them.”
Titusville has the chance to extend its winning streak to four games when the Rockets travel to Sharon on Thursday, at 4 p.m., for a Region 5 contest.