Guy Perham admitted he didn’t know that he had a perfect game on his hands until the final inning.
It was the bottom of the fifth and the Highlanders were up 14-0 against Gonzaga Prep. The only thing the Shadle Park softball coach was thinking about at that moment was Jaya Allen retiring the last batter for a third Shadle Park shutout this season.
Then it hit him.
“I was just thinking to myself, ‘Wait a minute – she hasn’t walked anybody yet,’ ” Perham said.
And the senior pitcher had given her team’s defense the night off, striking out every batter.
Tuesday’s perfect game was a reminder that all the time she has dedicated to practice over the years, which has often seemed endless, has its rewards.
“Having those type of games makes you happy because everything just pays off in the end,” Allen said.
Allen has already thrown quite a few perfect games in her career. The four-year varsity starter said she wasn’t sure how many perfect nights she’s had in the circle – she lost count a while ago.
“I don’t know, maybe five?” Allen guessed.
She does, however, remember the number of times she has defeated Coeur d’Alene before this season – zero. But on Saturday, that stat changed with a 2-0 win.
“We’ve wanted that (win) all four years and we finally got it and it was an awesome feeling,” Allen said on Thursday.
Allen has two other no-hitters this season – one on April 11 when the Highlanders topped North Central 15-0 and another Thursday when Shadle Park blanked Rogers 10-0.
As of Wednesday, Allen has taken the lead in the Greater Spokane League with 96 strikeouts. This season, Allen has proved that her power extends beyond the mound – she is currently leading the league in batting average (.640), RBIs (21) and home runs (6), which includes a grand slam against Ferris on April 13.
Allen will play next fall for Yavapai College, a community college in Prescott, Arizona, and hopes to eventually play at a four-year university.
Perham said Allen shouldn’t have a problem advancing to a higher-level program in a couple of years. She has already shown him that there’s no limit to her abilities on the field, especially when she has the ball in her hands.
He just wishes he had Allen on his team for one more year.
“She’s a good person. I’m going to miss her dearly. I told her she needs to be a fifth-year senior,” Perham joked. “But she is a great person. That’s why it’s fun to coach her.”
And another perfecto
Lewis and Clark junior Taylor John had a perfect day against North Central on Saturday when the Tigers routed the Indians 15-0. It was the first perfect game for Lewis and Clark’s program.
John struck out 11 batters in five innings and led the Tigers to their sixth win of the season.
Tigers coach Paul Neff the perfect game didn’t resonate with John immediately after the game.
“It started to sink in and I think it meant more for her the next day when everybody was talking about it,” Neff said on Thursday.
John pitched to senior catcher Savannah McConnell, who called the entire game for John that day. Neff said he and McConnell had been working all season on getting her to call more games without the assistance of a coach.
McConnell certainly passed the test on Saturday. She proved to Neff that he can trust to guide the game.
“She’s a senior,” Neff said. “She knows what she’s doing.”
The co-captains also took their leadership to the plate. John went 2 for 2 against North Central and drove in a run. McConnell notched four hits for the Tigers and picked up a pair of RBIs.
GSL standings, stats
University leads the league 11-0, a game ahead of Mt. Spokane (10-1). The Titans dealt the Wildcats their only loss, 10-8, on April 11.
Shadle Park is third at 9-2.
University’s Kirsten Anstrom currently leads the league with 10 wins. Teammate Alex Surby leads with 12 steals.