It was an unusual finish. Albemarle pitcher Lindsey Chaney went from three outs away from a perfect game to suddenly facing the potential go ahead run at the plate with one out and the bases loaded. But the sophomore delivered and managed to preserve a complete shutout and finish with a no-hitter thanks to a double play on a ground ball hit to her to wrap up a 3-0 win over Patrick Henry in the first round of the Northwest Region tournament.
“This is what we’ve been doing all year long,” said Albemarle coach Bill Hutchinson. “We’re not a power hitting team. We get a lot of line drives, take advantage of mistakes and it happened tonight. And what a pitching performance (from Chaney). A perfect game going into the seventh and it broke my heart she walked the first kid. And she knew what she had too. But what a great game.”
Chaney was flawless through the first six innings, but two walks and an error put the Patriots in a precarious position, up by three, but with Patrick Henry threatening for a big finish.
The two squads were scoreless going into the bottom of the fifth inning, but Albemarle broke through there two take a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly from Alaina Peters with the bases loaded. A bases loaded walk and an error allowed Albemarle to tack on two more runs and make it 3-0.
“I knew we were going to hit,” Chaney said. “It was a little slow in the beginning but eventually we came through. I calmed down a little, but I guess that didn’t work exactly for me.”
While the Patriots threatened numerous times throughout the game, Patrick Henry’s only base runners came in the seventh. And while Chaney and her defense behind her was up against the wall getting the last three outs, Albemarle remained calm and came through with a game ending double play.
“I was eager to strike everyone out,” Chaney said. “I knew we were going to get through it though.”
Chaney finished with 12 strikeouts on the night.
Albemarle advances to quarterfinals where it will face Osbourne Park on the road on Monday at 6 p.m.