MUNCY–Nolah Moyer was working toward perfection Monday, but had no idea. That was until a teammate told her after five innings, breaking the superstitious Cardinal rule.
But it did not matter. On this day, neither Warrior Run, nor the softball gods could touch the Muncy ace as she delivered, arguably, the greatest pitching performance in program history.
Moyer threw a perfect game, striking out 17 of 21 batters as Muncy blanked Warrior Run, 7-0, and clinched a District 4 Class AA playoff berth. Casey Fry hit a first-inning home run, Muncy (10-1) scored six two-out, fourth inning runs and Moyer produced a pitching performance that could make Jennie Finch envious.
“I didn’t know about it until one my teammates told me about it, but I don’t really pay attention to that,” Moyer said. “I just try and focus on the moment, and do what I need to in that moment.”
Doing so, helped Moyer produce a moment she will never forget.
This was dominance personified as the St. Bonaventure-bound junior overpowered a quality-hitting Warrior Run team from the start. The Defenders (7-6) were coming off an 8-7 win against District 4 Class AAAA title contender Selinsgrove but never had a chance against Moyer. The lefty struck out the first nine batters she faced, produced at least two strikeouts in an inning six times and allowed just seven balls get hit.
That includes three foul balls, which drives home how insanely good Moyer was against a 3A team averaging 7.7 runs entering Monday’s game. After Lakesha Hauck fouled off the game’s first pitch, Moyer did not allow any contact again until the fourth inning. The Defenders had not been shutout in their first 12 games, but Moyer never gave it a chance at building on its turnaround season, not giving up contact until the fourth inning.
“Nolah was on from the start and the plays that we had to make we made,” Muncy coach Craig Weaver Sr. said. “She’s throwing her pitches where she needs to be throwing them.”
Moyer had thrown a five-inning no-hitter earlier this season against Southern Columbia and has been involved in six other no-hitters with Izzy Gush. This actually was Muncy’s second straight perfect game after that duo struck out all nine batters in last Friday’s 18-0 win at CMVT. But this was the first seven-inning perfect game Moyer has ever thrown at any level.
It was the latest masterpiece Moyer has painted with her left arm during a season in which her canvas keeps expanding. Showing perfect command on all five of her pitches, Moyer threw 61 of her 93 pitches for strikes, went to three-ball counts just four times and struck out the same hitter five times. Highlighting her dominance, Moyer induced 33 swings and misses on her 61 overall strikes thrown.
Moyer pushed her strikeout total this season to 120 in 50 1/3 innings, and has yet to allow an earned run. She has not allowed more than three hits in a game and, as yesterday’s game progressed, the only question was whether Moyer would stay perfect. Chevelle Bauman, Gush, Alaina Brelsford and Leah Vest made defensive plays and Moyer mowed through the top of Warrior Run’s lineup one last time to cap the perfect performance. Moyer not only has thrown 18 1/3 straight scoreless innings, but also remarkably, not surrendered a hit during that streak.
Seemingly growing more invincible as the game continued, Moyer closed with consecutive strikeouts on seven pitches. After inducing one last swing and a miss, Moyer showed little emotion and quickly trotted from the pitching circle. It was business as usual.
“We knew this was going to be a big game, one of our bigger games we’ve played this season. We wanted to come out strong,” Moyer said. “We knew they’re a good team, so I had to come out with everything I had.”
“It was really great. She was hitting her spots all game,” Fry, the team’s shortstop, said. “I was thinking toward the end, ‘I’m diving for anything. We’re going to help her out.’ She didn’t need it, though.”
Fry sure provided some big offensive help. The junior is a three-year starter who preserved last week’s no-hitter against Northwest with a fabulous diving stop and throw from her knees before showcasing her hitting prowess against Warrior Run.
After Gush opened the bottom of the first with a flyout, she offered some advice to Fry who then turned words into action seconds later. Fry tattooed her first home run this season over the left-field fence and quickly gave Muncy a 1-0 lead. She added an RBI single in the fourth inning when Muncy built its 7-0 lead which, the way Moyer was throwing, must have felt like 700 at that point for Warrior Run.
“It felt good to get a hit like that to start the game off. It really helps (Nolah) out because she pitched really well, and it turned out, all we needed was one,” Fry said. “We’ve been working on hitting all the last week. It felt nice to put it all together and string together some hits.”
Those hits came gushing through in the game-changing fourth inning when Muncy did all its damage with two outs. Alaina Brelsford ignited the two-out storm when she roped a two-run single into right field. Callie Gentzyel then dropped a bunt single before Gush hit an RBI single. Fry followed with an RBI single, before Taylor Shannon (2 for 4) capped the eruption with a two-run single.
After the second out was recorded, six straight Muncy batters reached base, five producing hits and four which drove in runs.
“We had to fix some things overall. We started to fix them and they showed up tonight. Now they have to stay fixed,” Weaver said. “There were some little things that needed fixed and the girls came tonight with that workmanship attitude and we got the job done.”
Warrior Run 000 000 0–0 0 4
Muncy 100 600 0–7 8 0
Makenzie Heyler and Lakesha Hauck. Nolah Moyer and Taylor Shannon. W–Moyer (9-1). L–Heyler (7-2).
Top Muncy hitters: Casey Fry 2-4, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Shannon 2-4, 2 RBIs; Alaina Brelsford 1-2, 2 RBIs, run; Chevelle Bauman 1-2, run; Callie Gentzyel 1-3, R; Izzy Gush 1-4, RBI, run.
Records: Muncy (10-1), Warrior Run (7-6).