Senior pitcher secures place in Grafton softball annals by tossing perfect game against Milwaukee Lutheran
Stu Hannam has seen his fair share of stellar pitching performances in 13 years as head coach of the Grafton High School softball team.
But Aly Bartel’s gem against Milwaukee Lutheran last week now tops his list.
The senior left-hander not only no-hit the host Red Knights in a North Shore Conference game April 21, she achieved perfection in the process.
Bartel retired all 21 batters she faced in a 7-0, seven-inning win, with none of them managing to get the ball out of the infield, Hannam said.
“That’s the first seven-inning perfect game I’ve seen in all my years at Grafton,” he said. “Aly just did such a nice job of throwing strikes and getting batters to hit it on the ground.
“And our defense was outstanding. They made all the plays they had to.”
Bartel helped make things easier for her teammates by striking out nine in the first no-hitter of her career. However, the Black Hawks’ infield was equally sharp, especially in the late going.
In the seventh, first baseman Kim Schacht and second baseman Emily Kabitzke each fielded hard-hit balls cleanly to preserve the perfect game, Hannam said.
Hannam also praised the work of senior catcher Casey Assmann in flawlessly handling Bartel’s pitches.
Offensively, Grafton did all the scoring it needed with a pair of runs in the first inning. The Hawks turned the game into a rout by adding two runs in the third, one in the fifth and two in the seventh.
Grafton finished with eight hits, led by Lauren Lennon’s 2-for-2 effort. Assmann was 1-for-3 and drove in two runs.
Besides enjoying a historic pitching performance, the Hawks improved their record to 4-1 in conference play, good for a share of second place. Lutheran fell to 0-5.
Although the Red Knights have struggled this season, they have shown offensive ability. In their two previous games, they lost slugfests to Nicolet (18-17) and Port Washington (31-10).
“Lutheran has a nice team. They can hit the ball, and they played some great defense against us,” Hannam said.
“Their center fielder made four unbelievable catches against us that cost us some runs.”
Ironically, Bartel wasn’t originally scheduled to pitch the whole game, according to Hannam.
“We planned to use her in only the first three innings and then bring in Amanda Hunt to pitch the rest of the way,” he said.
“But every inning, Aly kept getting them out in order, so I couldn’t take her out.”
The game was originally supposed to be played April 19 but had to be postponed due to inclement weather.
This week, Grafton was scheduled to continue league play against Port Washington at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and host Oakfield in a nonconference contest at 5 p.m. Thursday.
On May 3, the Hawks will host Homestead at 4:30 p.m. in a rematch with the NSC’s first-place team. Grafton will be looking for revenge after losing, 4-3, to the Highlanders on April 18.