If defense wins championships, then Kennedy's Grace Schaecher is practically a title contender all by herself.
The Trojans' junior pitcher recorded a trio of starts last week that will go down in the John F. Kennedy High School record books as among the best stretches that any player has put up in school history.
The stat line: Two no-hitters sandwiched between a perfect game.
Schaecher pitched three of four games for the No. 8 Trojans last week, helping her team pick up a 15-0 win over Delphian on April 29, followed by a 13-0 victory in the first game of a double-header at Culver on May 1. She wrapped up her week with a 15-0 win at Colton on Friday.
Kennedy went on to win the other game of their double header at Culver by an 18-0 margin with sophomore Ellie Cantu on the mound, making it a 4-0 week for the Trojans — all without giving up a run.
The wins also pushed the Trojans (14-3, 12-0 Special District 2) to their 14th consecutive win of the season after starting out the year 0-3 against perennial 3A powers from Dayton and Scio.
Schaecher's incredible week began at the Delphian Dragons (0-13, 0-11), where she carried a perfect game through the first four innings of play. Heading into the bottom of the fifth inning with a 15-0 lead, Schaecher mishandled a grounder from Dragon freshman Ava Almstead, who reached base on the error.
Schaecher went on to strike out the side to end the game and finish with no hits, no walks and no runs while striking out 12 batters.
Though the perfect game was lost, she made good on her next opportunity two days later when the Trojans traveled across the pass to play the Culver Bulldogs (3-10, 3-8).
Just like before, Schaecher came out throwing smoke, striking out 11 batters across the first four innings as the Trojans led 5-0 entering the fifth. Kennedy erupted for eight runs in the top of the inning to make it a 13-0 game, and Schaecher followed with three straight strikeouts in the bottom of the frame to end the contest and secure the perfect game.
But she wasn't done just yet. Schaecher finished the week at Colton (10-9, 6-5), dominating a team fighting for a state playoff berth. The Kennedy junior struck out the first two batters of the game before Colton reached base on a fielding error at third base. Schaecher struck out the next batter to end the inning, and went on to pitch four more perfect innings, finishing with 13 strikeouts and her third consecutive no-hitter.
Schaecher has now gone five consecutive games without giving up an earned run. In that span, she has given up just three hits in 25 innings, striking out 59 out of a possible 75 batters. Her lone blemish came on an unearned run against Jefferson in the Trojans' 16-1 win over the Lions on April 26.
Schaecher's last earned runs came in the Trojans' 7-2 win against the Gervais Cougars on April 22.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)