It was a perfect afternoon for softball Monday and Sierra pitcher Lindsey Walljasper responded almost in kind, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning before back-to-back doubles to lead off the inning gave visiting Central Catholic of Modesto a run.
Walljasper did to the next three batters what she had done to the first 18 – retired them – to give the Timberwolves a 2-1 Valley Oak League win.
“It’s always nice to have a perfect game,” Walljasper said. “I tried my best.
“I just kept trying to hit my spots – the same thing as always – my defense is always backing me up so I count on them a lot.”
One of the defensive standouts for Sierra was center fielder Kiara Baleva who made a circus catch to start the second inning.
“She (Baleva) is definitely helping me out this season,” Walljasper said. “I can’t wait to see what she has in store the rest of the way.”
Walljasper struck out the first three batters of the game before Gia Aleve led off the second for the Raiders (2-1 VOL, 10-1 overall) with a short fly to center. Baleva bolted in and dove to make the catch.
“I was just trying to help my team out,” Baleva said. “I had to do my job.
“I honestly didn’t know if I had it or not. I tripped out there and then I had to somehow get it and keep it in my glove.”
Leadoff batter Illiana Felix doubled to start the seventh for Central Catholic and scored when Izzy Davis doubled. But that was the end of the road for the Raiders.
“Those girls made good contact with those two doubles but Walljasper settled down and finished the game with a strikeout,” Timberwolves coach Vic DeAnda said. “That was huge.
“That was a great job from her (Walljasper). She hasn’t really thrown seven innings this year and she came out and threw really well – she struck out 14.”
After Walljasper walked and took second on a wild pitch to start the fourth, Samantha Lorge battled back from an 0-2 count to 2-2 before doubling Walljasper in for a 2-0 lead.
“I wanted to hit the ball so hard,” Lorge said. “I kept battling and then I just hit it.”
Lorge came up big in the first inning as well when she grounded to third with two outs. Instead of trying to get Lorge at first, the Raiders third baseman decided to go home to try to get Mia Guevara who broke from third on contact and the throw home was way off the mark, spotting the Timberwolves (2-0, 3-5) to a 1-0 early lead.
“We are a young team,” DeAnd said. “And Sam (Lorge) is one of my four freshmen that I start.”