Highland (Palmdale, Calif.) softball pitcher Rachel Garcia began the day with 18 strikeouts in a 6-0 semifinal victory against Lakewood in the Thousand Oaks Tournament on Saturday.
Garcia, a UCLA commit, began the championship game against Camarillo by striking out the first 18 batters she faced. She would finish with 23 strikeouts in eight innings, but something happened on the way to her perfect game and a Highland victory.
Under California rules for extra innings, a runner starts on second base to begin each half-inning starting with the eighth. In one sequence, Garcia uncorked a wild pitch as the runner, Sara Stroud, hustled toward third. The catcher than made an ill-advised throw to third and the ball went down the left-field line, allowing Stroud to score.
Garcia struck out the next three batters she faced, but Highland could not score in the bottom of the eighth and Camarillo won 1-0.
She finished with a perfect game — not allowing a hit, a walk, a hit batter or a runner to reach base on an error — and a loss.
“It’s pretty tough. All you can do is learn from it and move on to the next game,” Garcia told the Los Angeles Daily News.