LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE â€” With the ball twisting in the swirling wind, Jessica Ferri took a deep breath.
For a split second, Ferri thought she might have lost her bid for perfection. However, the final step toward perfection became a reality for the junior Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy softball pitcher.
Ferri completed her first perfect game of the season to lead visiting Flintridge Sacred Heart to a 4-0 nonleague win against Flintridge Prep on Tuesday afternoon in a nonleague contest.
Ferri (6-2) struck out 15 en route to posting her third no-hitter of the season. The right-hander also got four grounders.
She needed some luck at the end. With two outs, Alina Khodadian of Flintridge Prep (2-2) lofted a pop up behind second base. Flintridge Sacred Heart second baseman Taylor Crotty raced back to make the catch, allowing Ferri to make a fist pump.
â€œThose little dinkers can kill you,â€ said Ferri, who posted a no-hitter Friday in a nonleague game against Westridge. â€œI had to hold my breath because that's always a tough play.
â€œI have a lot more confidence and my control is a lot better. I like to get ahead early in the count and get them to chase my pitches out of the zone.â€
Flintridge Sacred Heart (6-2) gave Ferri plenty of offensive support. The Tologs got a two-run home run in the third inning from Amy Leos to make it 3-0, and a solo home run from Mary Knauf in the fifth to close out the scoring.
First-year Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Kirk Nishiyama said the home runs made things easier for Ferri, who struck out the side in the third and sixth.
â€œWe are hitting the ball well during the last three games,â€ said Nishiyama, who succeeded Dennis Williams. â€œWe are hitting a lot of line drives in an effort to cut down on our strikeouts.
â€œJessica has been in a zone the last few games. She's also confident with the defense we have behind her.â€
Flintridge Prep made Ferri work hard during a few at-bats. Ferri had a full count on first baseman Lydia Kay before getting Kay to chase a screw- ball.
For the most part, Ferri kept the Rebels off-balance.
â€œShe's such a great pitcher, and you have to give it to her,â€ third-year Flintridge Prep Coach Julie Jaime said. â€œWe tried real hard to break it up, but we couldn't do it.
â€œFor a split second, I thought maybe the ball would fall for a hit. The ball stayed up their for that extra second. I thought we played well, and we held them down.â€
The Tologs opened the scoring in the second.
With two outs and Krissy Garcia on first, Sarah Friedman singled to center. The ball skipped past the Flintridge Prep center fielder for an error, allowing Garcia to score.
Flintridge Sacred Heart finished with nine hits. The Tologs had two hits in the first, second, third and fourth.
?CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.