WHITEMARSH >> Bridget Bailey pitched a no-hitter Monday, joined in a quick celebration, strolled off the field, and wouldn’t have minded had nobody noticed.
The Interboro High junior struck out eight in five innings of an 11-0 PIAA Class 5A softball playoff victory over Franklin Towne Charter at Plymouth Whitemarsh, walking none and missing a perfect game only when she accidentally plunked Kadirah Williams with a fourth-inning fastball.
But there would be no game ball saved, no Gatorade bucket ceremoniously dumped and no whipped cream pie to enjoy in a hurry and without a fork. Indeed, while the right-hander does recall throwing an occasional no-hitter in the past, she’d prefer not to consider it a collection.
“I honestly have no idea how many,” she said. “I really don’t keep track. I don’t know. I just feel like it would be bad luck.”
So why push it? So far, the 18-7 Bucs have earned the good fortune of an appearance in the second round, Thursday at a neutral site against the winner of a Tuesday game between Cedar Cliff and Moon. And as far as luck went Monday, the Bucs did enjoy a certain extra helping when Franklin Towne Charter showed up without any of its six seniors, all starters, as they were obligated to attend a graduation practice according to coach Lauren Esposito.
“We were forced to rely on our younger players, and it was a difficult challenge,” Esposito said. “Our hitting certainly needed to improve. But that was something, I guess, that we haven’t really practiced for, not having half of our team. It was our entire infield.
“So all things considered, I am proud of these girls for going out there and fighting hard. It was tough. Our baseball team had the same thing happen for states. It’s unfortunate. But it is what it is.”
The Bucs, though, passed on showing much sympathy, scoring four runs on five first-inning hits and rolling to a victory abbreviated by the 10-run rule. Brit Pinkerton provided two RBIs in that early rally, and would go 3-for-3 with two triples, a double and five RBIs.
“As the year has gone on, she has gotten better and better and better at the plate,” Bucs coach Chuck Pedrick said. “Hopefully, she hasn’t peaked because we have a lot left, three more games. So hopefully she is just getting near that peak. She works hard every day. No matter what we are doing, she works hard.”
Pinkerton had a two-run triple in the Bucs’ bat-around five-run third, then scored on a Haley Barrett triple. In the fourth, she delivered Barb Carosi with a triple to put the 10-run rule into play, then scored on a wild pitch.
Bailey worked a perfect fifth to put it away and work into any informal list of Interboro pitchers of excellence in Pedrick’s long career.
“She’s up there, and she’s only in 11th grade, which is the best part,” Pedrick said. “I am so happy. We talked about that as the game was going on. She said, ‘I don’t care, we just want to play on Thursday.’ So we’re happy.”
Carosi went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Amber Seamen had a triple and scored twice. And Pinkerton kept the pressure on the Coyotes, who finished 17-2.
“I was just keeping my eye on the ball,” Pinkerton said. “And the game just flies by when (Bailey) is pitching at her best. It is very easy to play behind her. We don’t see many hits when she is pitching like that. But when we do, it’s motivation to back her up. We know we have to play our best.”
The Bucs did little wrong Thursday, surviving the only Franklin Towne base runner. They were required, however, to make two fine, first-inning defensive plays that, as it would happen, would figure later into Bailey’s achievement.
Coyotes leadoff hitter Amanda Stapf attempted a bunt, but Bailey hustled to corral it and caught her by a stride at first. Williams followed with a whistling, opposite-way line drive that Carosi would spear at third.
From there, Bailey worked with effective calm … and celebrated the same way. Asked if she would be taking home any souvenirs, she only laughed.
“No, no,” she said. “Probably not.”