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Golden pitches five-inning perfect game for Hancock

March 22, 2002|BY BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

HANCOCK - Katie Golden put a decidedly different twist on the "Just Say No" theme.

How about no runs, no hits, and no one on base.

The Panthers' freshman pitcher threw a perfect game to open the season, and first year head coach Heather Creek debuted with an 18-0 win over St. Maria Goretti on Thursday.

After working through the first three batters, Golden struck out the next seven Gaels in a row on only 24 pitches.

"I can't really believe it yet," Golden said moments after the game. "I guess it hasn't sunk in."

"Katie had some good stuff today," freshman catcher Nina Chiaruttinni said. "She had some great control in those middle innings and really worked those guys over."

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And how.

Golden, pitching in a sleeveless jersey as the wind picked up and the temperature dipped, was the picture of focus, carving out the corners of the plate and controlling Goretti's bats. She never gave up so much as a 2-0 count, and never threw more than two balls to any one batter.

"I was a little nervous in school today," Golden said. "But, everyone kept telling me it would be okay. I kept thinking, 'Talk to me after the game.' But, they were right."

"There really isn't much to say after the way we played today," Creek said. "Katie certainly was on today, but as a team, we played very well considering how early it is in the season."

Hancock wasted little time, showing a mix of patience and aggressiveness. The Panthers took advantage of three walks and a hit batsman to plate eight runs in the first inning.

"Our philosophy will be if we get them on, we are going to take risks to get them in," Creek said. "You don't get style points for leaving them on base."

Centerfielder Alicia Barnard preserved Golden's gem by running down the only serious Goretti threat in the fourth inning. With one out, the Gaels' Erin Donaghue jumped on a 1-2 pitch and ripped a liner into right center. Barnard got a late jump but played the ball effortlessly over her shoulder about 10 feet from the fence.

The next hitter dribbled a roller down the first base line, and Golden was out of the inning.

"(Golden) didn't panic after that shot," Creek said. "In fact, you really couldn't read any emotion on her face."

The Panthers scored four runs in the bottom of the inning. Golden then forced the Gaels to pop three harmless infield flies in the fifth to end the game.

"I'm glad for our team," Golden said. "We played some awesome defense today and I think we all feel better to get this first one."

Chiaruttinni had six RBI to lead the Panthers' offense - but it was Golden who stole the show.

Hancock 18, Goretti 0

Goretti 000 00 - 0 0 3

Hancock 815 4x -18 5 0

Bockrath and Donaghue. Golden and Chiaruttinni. WP-Golden (1-0). LP-Bockrath (0-1).

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