|PWF Game#9: Brittani's Perfection & JJ's Slam|
Between Jan. 21 and Feb. 1, GoHatters.com is counting down the Top 10 Games in Patricia Wilson Field history...
Two-and-a-half seasons after it was built, Patricia Wilson Field had seen its share of no-hitters. Hatter pitchers had thrown four, including Brittani Houghton’s no-hitter of Glenville State a month earlier (Feb. 5, 2005). But prior to the March 4 meeting with Maine, no Stetson pitcher had tossed a perfect game (relax, we can’t jinx it after the fact).
Houghton, a senior and one of four pitchers on the squad, was 3-2 with a 1.75 ERA entering the game against the Black Bears. She got to off to good start, fielding a bunt to lead-off the game, then recording a strikeout and a ground out for a 1-2-3 first inning.
In the bottom of the first Houghton led off with a single and stole second, but would move no further.
Houghton again retired the side in order in the second, starting a run of what would be four straight strikeouts that carried all the way through the top the third inning.
She helped herself at the plate again in the bottom of the third, singling to lead off the inning and this time scoring on an RBI single by Melissa Wiggins. Two more Hatters would score in the frame as Stetson took a 3-0 lead.
Two ground outs and a fly out sent the Bears down in order again in the fourth, although Brittany Cheney’s fly to left was the first ball Maine had hit out of the infield.
Houghton ignited a fourth-inning rally as well. With one out she singled up the middle and scored on Carrie Cruit’s two-run homer which made it 5-0 Stetson after four.
Two more strikeouts for Houghton in the top of the fifth gave her seven on the day, and a fly out to right field kept her perfect through five. She headed to the dugout thinking there were still six more outs needed to nail down the win.
Jessica King led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk and moved to second on a throwing error off of a Jenny Diaz bunt. After Terri Lake walked to load the bases, head coach Frank Griffin decided to call for a pinch-hitter, junior J.J. Payette. Only 1-for-6 on the season, Payette wasted no time at the plate, smashing a game-winning grand slam on the very first pitch she saw. It was her second career home run and marked the first walk-off grand slam by any player in Patricia Wilson Field history.
"After the game, the late-great Stetson University President, Dr. H. Douglas Lee, came up to me and shook my hand," Payette recalls. "He called me by name, told me how proud he was and how much he enjoyed the game. I don’t think there is a more uniquely Stetson experience in my memory."
The hit gave Stetson a 9-0 run-rule victory over Maine and gave Houghton her first career perfect game.
"I do remember the game against Maine, but what I remember most vividly was JJ's grand slam," Houghton recalls. "We jumped up and ran out of the dugout so quick that I didn't realize the game was over! So it didn't hit me that I'd thrown a perfect game until we were walking out to right field to meet, but I remember it was an incredible feeling and made me so thankful that I had a team on the field behind me who'd made it possible. It was one of the most fun games I've ever played and it ended in the perfect way!"
It would be five more years before a Hatter threw another perfect game at home (Amanda Lindsey, 2010, also vs. Maine), but Houghton’s five-inning gem and coach JJ’s walk-off granny rank as the #9 Top Game in Patricia Wilson Field history.
|HATTER SPORTS||CLUB SPORTS||ATHLETICS DEPT||GOHATTERS.COM|