Aubrey Hacke’s teammates teased her as she walked off the diamond with her 12th pitching victory of the season.
“Now you get to explain how you almost threw another no-hitter,” one of them said.
It’s been that kind of a year for the Highland senior.
Hacke, who’s already thrown two no-hitters this season, was perfect through 5 1/3 innings in an 11-0 short-game win over Triad Monday.
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She struck out six and allowed just two batted balls beyond the infield before Knights’ sophomore Kailey Daniel put the only smudge on another sterling pitching performance with a one-out single in the sixth inning.
“Honestly, you just have to shake that off,” said Hacke. “It was still a great game all around; we hit the ball and played great defense. You don’t want to be a stat hogger.”
The Bulldogs’ record remains unblemished at 21-0.
Hacke had a big day at the dish, too, first driving an RBI double off the top of the fence in right center field, then belting her first home run of the season with two out in the sixth.
The game’s outcome was academic by the point, however. Highland scored two runs in the second, four in the fourth and got a solo home run in the fifth from junior Lauren Baer. Hacke’s home run sparked the rally that stopped the game short of a full seven innings.
That was more than enough support for Hacke, who has allowed just 14 earned runs in 80 innings this season.
“I’m surprised by this outcome because the last time we played them it was 1-0 and they have a really good pitcher,” Exton said. “But we played a really clean game today — no errors, Aubrey didn’t walk any, and we got hits up and down the order. These girls feed off one another and have all year.”
The Bulldogs’ lineup produced 11 hits in all, including RBI hits by Lily Garbett and a pair of RBI singles by Peyton Holzinger, who also walked twice and scored twice. Baer scored three runs and had two RBIs. Designated player Sidney Harnetiaux, hitting out of the No. 9 spot, had two hits and four RBIs.
“It’s not three or four hitters carrying us all the time,” said Highland head coach Greg Exton. “Even if the kids in the middle of the lineup maybe don’t have a great day, there always seems to be somebody stepping up and taking the slack.”
Next up for Highland is a Mississippi Valley Conference game with 15-7 Waterloo at home Tuesday. Triad will be at Civic Memorial Thursday at 4:15 p.m.