Most of the time, a three-hitter with eight strikeouts will yield a win for a pitcher.
For Manteca High’s Haighley Kissee, Tuesday was not most of the time.
Kisse’s counterpart, Sierra sophomore Lindsey Walljasper, was just a little bit better — perfect, as a matter of fact. Walljasper mowed down 10 to notch her second seven-inning complete game of her young career with a 2-0 win over the Buffaloes in Valley Oak League softball action at Sierra High School.
“I just tried hitting my spots,” Walljasper said. “And doing what I know how to do. My team does great behind me.
“I just had to stay focused and remain confident.”
While the Timberwolves (8-3 VOL, 11-3 overall) did a wonderful job on defense, it was Walljasper herself that repelled the biggest threat to her perfect game. With one out in the sixth, Koryn Menasco hit a slow comebacker to Walljasper. The Sierra sophomore charged the ball and fired to first, nipping Menasco by less than half a step.
“I really wanted to keep the perfect game,” Walljasper said. “So I just tried running as fast as I could to the ball and throwing it as hard as I could.”
Walljasper got the Timberwolves on the board in the second inning. She belted a leadoff single, stole second and came home on Maddie Penner’s blistering double to left.
“Last time Haighley (Kissee) pitched to me, she did a really good job and I struck out twice,” Walljasper said. “This time I knew what she was going to be throwing to me and I was looking for that pitch to drive up the middle.”
This is not the first Walljasper Sierra coach Vic DeAnda has coached.
“This is amazing,” DeAnda said. “I have been very blessed since I have been here. The first three years I got to coach Lindsey’s sister Allie and it was a blessing to have both Walljaspers – great kids.”
Walljasper fell behind in the count a few times in the last inning, causing some anxiety for DeAnda.
“That was scary,” DeAnda said of that last frame. “We knew that had some good hitters and we didn’t want to give them anything good, but we didn’t want to walk them, either.
“Manteca is a great team – they have great hitters, a good defense and a good pitcher. (Kissee) pitched real well against us.”
Penner’s double was the only extra-base hit of the contest.
“It felt good,” Penner said. “I knew the game was going to be close so I knew that one run was going to matter a lot when it came down to it.”
Leadoff batter Devi Coglio scored the other Timberwolves run in the fifth. She was hit by a pitch to start the inning – in her first at bat she fouled two pitches off of herself – and advanced to second on a sacrifice fly by Legacy Barnes. Coglio stole third and came home on a passed ball.
“Lindsey pitching a perfect game was amazing,” Coglio said. “She is only a sophomore.
“We were all really into this game because we had to win it to clinch a spot for playoffs – it was a really important game to us.”
By clinching its spot in the playoffs, Sierra eliminated Manteca (7-5, 13-8) from post-season play.
“It was a good game,” Buffaloes coach Corey Navarro said. “She (Walljasper) threw well. You have to get girls on base to make things happen and Walljasper threw well enough to keep us off the bases. She did a fantastic job.
“We made contact but we just didn’t get anything through the hole. My hat goes off to them and the best to them in the playoffs. That was a tight game.”