By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR May 1, 2001 Chapel Field pitcher Julie Schaper was only two pitches away from perfection Friday afternoon in Livingston Manor.
Only a pitch that became ball four on sixth inning walk and an offering in the bottom of the seventh that Manors Megan Blanton was able to get her bat on for a bloop single prevented Schaper from hurling a perfect game.
Schaper, however, held Livingston Manor (32, 11 OCIAA) to that one hit and struck out 16 Lady Wildcats to lead Chapel Field (93, 20 OCIAA) to a 6-0 win in an OCIAA Division V game.
The Manor batters were kept off balance all afternoon by Schaper, who is only a freshman. When a Lady Wildcat had two strikes and was looking for a fastball, Schaper threw a change-up for a strike out. When the next batter was looking for that change-up, she swung behind a heater.
She threw a great game, Chapel Field coach Bill Spanjer said. Shes had another one hitter this season, a no-hitter and a two-hitter against Ellenville. But today was the most strikeouts shes had in a game.
Schaper lost the bid for the perfecto with two out in the bottom of the sixth. Manors Jamie Bowers took a full-count pitch that was just an inch low to earn a free pass to first base.
One inning later, Blanton ruined Schapers no-hit bid. With one out, Blanton got just enough of a pitch to poke a bloop hit into short right field. The ball landed just inside the line, about 15 feet behind first base.
A few pitches later, Blanton was thrown out by Chapel Field catcher Ambre Wilson while trying to steal second base. Schaper then struck out Amanda Irwin to end the game.
Excluding foul balls, only three Lady Wildcats other than Blanton Amanda Irwin, Rachelle Irwin and Jen Wright were able to get their bats on Schapers pitches. Rachelle Irwin grounded out to short in the first and popped out to first in the fourth, Amanda Irwin lined out in the second and Wright grounded out in the bottom of the third.
Schaper helped her own cause with an RBI single in the top of the second to score teammate Steph Jones for a 1-0 lead. Schaper then got some offensive help from her teammates in the top of the third. With one out, Ambre Wilson doubled to left to send Laura Schweiger to the plate for the second Chapel Field run.
Two batters later, Lauren Vogel singled to bring Wilson home for a 3-0 Lady Lion lead.
Lynne Wit added an RBI triple in the fifth and Rachel McLeans single brought home Schaper in the sixth. Wilson added a sacrifice fly for Chapel Field in the seventh inning.
Manor pitcher Alys Mann pitched fairly well, but her performance was overshadowed by Schaper. Mann, whos only a sophomore, allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out two on the afternoon.
Alys did a good job, Manor coach Gail Denman said. And defensively, we did a great job. If we would have gotten our bats going, it might have been a different game.
Denman added that the game was a tough one. But it was a loss that may prove to be very educational for her Lady Wildcats.
We saw what kind of stuff she has, Denman said of Schaper. When we play them next time, well know what were getting into.