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HRV's Kayla Byers throws perfect game

April 6, 2011

All Kayla Byers knew was that each time she marched to the mound, she quickly marched back to the dugout having mowed through the St. Helens Lions in St. Helens Friday.

Her coaches and teammates knew more: The HRV freshman was pitching a perfect game.

Byers fashioned a dominant performance, striking out 11 Lions and throwing HRV's first perfect game since 2006 as the Eagles won 7-0.

"About the fourth inning I looked at my stat book and went 'Wow, she's pitching a perfect game,'" HRV coach Eric Keller said. "Then I started to get nervous."

Byers had nearly all her pitches working against St. Helens. After the Lions got their bats on several change-ups early, Byers simply started throwing more fastballs and curveballs and the Lions were helpless against them.

"I just went out and was focusing on my form and the girl behind me helped out a lot," Byers said.

According to former HRV coach Phil Hukari, it was the first HRV perfect game since Stefanie Draper threw one during a tournament in Florida in the 2006 season.

It wasn't the first time Byers has thrown a perfect game in her career; she tossed one in ASA-level fastpitch last year, so she was used to the pressure.

"I don't think really anyone on the team realized it was a perfect game," Keller said. "Although one girl in the dugout said it was a no-hitter and almost jinxed it."

The Lions only came close to breaking it up in the bottom of the sixth inning when the popped up two bunts. The first went right back to Byers, and the second went to Annie Veatch who made a running throw to beat the hustling batter.

"I've just got a good team behind me," Byers said. "I know the defense is going to be there if they hit it."

Byers helped out her own cause at the plate, hitting two doubles.

Natalia Ames and Hallie Curtis helped provide the bulk of the offense in the win with Ames going 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI and Curtis going 2-for-4 with a home run.

Keller also crediting catcher Logan Bailey for calling a good game.

"I only gave her two pitches the whole time," he said.

Bailey had never caught a perfect game before, and now finds herself as part of HRV history.

"A couple of bobbles made me nervous but everyone backed her up and executed," Bailey said.

For a young HRV team that is still building its confidence level, the experience will provide a lasting memory - for players and coaches alike.

"I've never seen one on TV or been a part of one," Keller said. "I've just seen Sportsce

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