BRAIDWOOD – Abby Burns was very nearly perfect Monday afternoon at Reed-Custer. The same could also be said for the rest of the Morris Redskins.
Burns pitched a no-hitter in the Redskins’ 12-0, six-inning defeat of the Lady Comets. She took a perfect game into the bottom of the sixth when, with one out, she hit Kayla Murphy with a pitch.
It was the first high-school no-hitter for Burns (6-1), a freshman, though she has had them before in junior high at Shabbona and in travel softball. Perfection continues to elude her, though.
“One batter [away],” Burns said, when asked how close she has gotten to a perfect game. “I was pretty nervous [in the sixth]. ... [After hitting Murphy], I was fine. It keeps me calm knowing I have a sharp defense behind me.”
That defense made all 11 plays required of it by Burns, who had seven strikeouts. Several of those plays were more than routine.
“The defense did great today,” Morris coach Jen Lowery said. “They got some hard balls hit at ’em, especially at third base – Lauren [Severson] did a great job covering ground at third, making some great plays for us. Maddy Feeney made a great catch out in center field, saved a hit for us.”
The third inning started the same way the first two did for the Morris (7-1) offense – with Reed-Custer pitcher Kenna Wilkey setting its first two batters down in order. It ended much differently than did the first two, when the Redskins went down without much of a struggle.
Feeney started an eight-run onslaught innocently enough by dropping a bunt single down in front of Wilkey. She was the first of nine straight to reach base. By the time the Redskins were retired, Alex Cook had hit an RBI single, Emily Moore and Burns had hit RBI doubles and the Lady Comets had made four errors. Twice during the inning, Wilkey struck a batter out, only to have them reach on a dropped third strike.
Moore finished 3-for-4 with two RBI for Morris, which scored its final four runs in the top of the sixth inning. Feeney had two hits and two runs.
“My approach was I knew coming into the game and their pitcher’s really good, so I stayed calm at the plate and just did what I usually do,” Moore said. “We knew that [Wilkey] was a really good pitcher and she was gonna throw a tough game, but once we started hitting, we could do it.”
Reed-Custer dropped to 2-3 overall with the loss.