With a perfect game and a no-hitter under her belt, Maiden’s Hannah Callahan has helped position the Lady Blue Devils for a successful season.
The junior pitcher is 5-1 this season, including a season-opening no-hitter against Lincolnton and a perfect game Tuesday against Newton-Conover.
Callahan said the two performances are a product of her hard work.
“My pitching means a lot to me,” Callahan said. “ I work on spins on my pitches, locations and different pitches. I work on my infield, too, because I struggle with that. I work hard at it so I can help my team out.”
Maiden coach Katrina Robinson said the perfect game performance gave her a flashback to her playing days.
“As a former pitcher myself, it is exciting to see any pitcher go out there and be able to do that because it doesn’t happen very often, no matter who you are playing,” Robinson said. “It definitely is an accomplishment for her.
So far this season, Callahan has sat down 48 batters on strikes, and allowed 14 hits and five earned runs in six games pitched.
“Every time I’m out there, I try to throw the best that I can,” Callahan said. “It shows all the work I put in that I can be able to do something like that.”
Robinson said she’s seen a huge leap by her standout pitcher this season.
“We have seen a lot of growth in Hannah this year, as far as being better disciplined and when to throw what pitch,” Robinson said. “Her strength has been her fast ball, but she has really learned this year how to work in some different pitches and throw in some off-speed to keep competitors on their toes.”
A solid Maiden offense — which includes juniors Lindsey Schronce, Jessica Cooper, Emily Crouse and Carolina Ward, as well as sophomore Mollie Sigmon — aids Callahan.
In seven games in 2012, the Lady Blue Devils have four games of 10 or more runs scored and five shutouts.
“We have six juniors and no seniors,” Robinson said. “These juniors have been starting since they were freshmen. We have been waiting to see them blossom. It’s nice to finally see that, see that growth in them and maturity.”
Offensively, Schronce and Cooper have combined to hit six home runs (three each), including a grand slam by Cooper against the Lady Red Devils on Tuesday.
“We’ve really been working on our batting and being more aggressive,” Robinson said. “It seems like this year, it is all coming together.”
Maiden, which finished behind eventual CVAC softball champion Bandys last season, has its sights set on a championship of its own in 2012.
“Hopefully, we’ll go a long way this year and to states,” Callahan said. “Our No. 1 competition is Bandys and Draughn. We just have to really focus and do the best we can in those games.”