Hailey Whitmer said she’s had a handful of one-hitters during her career, but the Butler High School junior saved her first no-hitter for one of her team’s biggest rivals.
The right-hander struck out 11 and didn’t allow a walk as the Bearettes beat host Mercy 4-1 on Tuesday in a battle of Sixth Region powers.
Whitmer hit one batter and pitched around three errors to improve to 4-3 this season.
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“I just tried to throw my game and not let them mess with me,” Whitmer said. “I just kept trying to stay confident and hit my spots.”
Whitmer also doubled as the Bearettes – No. 22 in the state coaches poll – finished with six hits and improved to 8-3 this season.
Mercy (6-4) has won three straight Sixth Region titles and had won the previous five meetings against Butler, dating to a 5-4 Bearettes victory in 2008.
“It really meant a lot because we needed to make a statement and let them know they’re not the only ones that have a chance,” Whitmer said. “We have a chance, too.”
Mercy sophomore Lexi Ray (5-2) took the loss, allowing all four runs (three earned) and striking out four. Coach Greg Meiners said he was pleased with Ray’s performance.
“I always tell her that we owe her three runs,” Meiners said. “We didn’t get to three runs today.”
Butler struck first in the second inning when Courtney Abbott led off with a single, moved to third on a pair of ground outs and then scored on Hannah Renfrow’s single to right.
Butler coach Brittany Braun was pleased to see the production from Renfrow, the No. 8 hitter in the lineup.
“She’s probably one of the hardest-working kids on the team,” Bruan said. “She has to get confidence in herself. I keep telling her, ‘You have to have confidence, confidence.’ She just did what she’s supposed to do.”
Butler took a 3-0 lead in the third on an RBI double by Faith Harris and an RBI single by Annabelle Ramirez. Harris’ RBI ground out scored Kayla McCauley to give the Bearettes a 4-0 lead in the fifth.
Meanwhile, Whitmer was cruising, retiring 11 straight batters at one point.
“Hailey’s a great pitcher,” Braun said. “What she does well is hit her spots. Everything was on today. When you throw a no-hitter, it has to be.”
Whitmer’s only real trouble came in the bottom of the sixth when Amber Reed struck out but reached when the third strike got away from Harris, the Butler catcher.
Mercy’s Melissa Collins then reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and scored when Kasey Kinsey hit a fly ball that was misplayed for an error by McCauley, the Butler center fielder.
Whitmer then struck out Ray to end the inning and pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to complete the victory.
“She had a lot of confidence, and her team looked confident,” Meiners said. “We were a little stunned. …
“She was hitting her spots, and she was putting some good spin on the ball. We tried to adjust and move up in the box to catch the curveball, but she did a nice job. Our kids weren’t very disciplined.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUTLER 012 010 0 – 4 6 3
MERCY 000 001 0 – 1 0 2
WP – Whitmer (4-3). LP – Ray (5-2). 2B – Whitmer (B), Harris (B).