Nanticoke pitcher Sarah Bertoni delivers a pitch during a game with Tunkhannock Monday. The sophomore twirled a perfect game to help the Trojans beat the Tigers.Don Carey/The Times Leader
Jenn Harnischfeger (No. 4) of Nanticoke is safe at third as the ball gets away from Schyler Yatsko of Tunkhannock during the bottom of the third inning of Monday’s game.Don Carey/The Times Leader
NANTICOKE — On a sun-baked afternoon, Nanticoke pitcher Sarah Bertoni really didn’t mind the 92-degree temperature. The 5-foot-3 sophomore sensation was too busy creating a heat wave of her own.
Relying mostly on an explosive fastball, Bertoni hurled a perfect game to lead the Trojans to a 10-0 victory over Tunkhannock in five innings in Wyoming Valley Conference action on Monday
Bertoni’s performance was nothing short of overwhelming. She struck out 10 and retired the minimum 15 batters. Tunkhannock failed to hit a ball out of the infield.
For the most part, the Tigers were unable to make contact with Bertoni’s blazing fastball.
“The heat was getting to me a little bit out there, but I had a great defense backing me up,” said Bertoni. “I was able to mix in some changeups and they worked.”
Bertoni set the tone for the entire game when she struck out Tunkhannock leadoff hitter Mallory Getts in the top of the first inning. She fanned five of the first six batters and struck out the side in the second inning.
“Sarah pitched really well,” said Nanticoke shortstop Jenn Harnischfeger. “Before the game, I asked how she felt and she said she was feeling really good. She made some really good adjustments.”
Bertoni had pitched exceptionally well all year, but hasn’t gotten much offensive support in recent games, according to Trojan coach Gary Williams.
“She’s pitched some great games, but has been the victim of bad luck,” the coach said. “Fortunately, she’s never gotten down on herself. I’m not surprised by what she did today.”
Nanticoke broke the game open by scoring eight runs on just three hits in the third inning. The Tigers were their own worst enemy – committing four errors in the frame, including a dropped fly ball that allowed three runs to score.
The Trojans also scored a pair of runs on a double by centerfielder Morgan Thomas.
“At first, I thought they were going to catch it,” said Thomas, who drilled a shot to left field that rolled to the fence. “On defense, we knew that we’d have go get to anything hit, in order to keep Sarah’s perfect game intact.”
Harnischfeger paced the Trojans offensive attack with two hits and stole third base.
“Scoring eight runs in the third inning really helped,” Bertoni said. “I knew if we scored some runs early in the game that we’d be OK.”
Katie Brown also had a good day at the plate. She doubled home two runs with one out in the bottom of the fifth – ending the game on the 10-run rule. She also walked and had a sacrifice bunt.
“I felt some pressure to produce,” Brown said. “I got a fastball and I hit it well. Sarah was pitching so well that we wanted to end it right away.”
Bertoni helped her own cause with an RBI single in the third inning that scored Harnischfeger from third base, but it just proved to be an added bonus to her marvelous pitching.
“It really picked up my confidence a lot,” she said.
Nanticoke raised its record to 7-3 in the WVC, while Tunkhannock fell to 4-5.
WP – Sarah Bertoni 5IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 10K LP – Ashley Inman 3IP, 5H, 8R, 4ER, 2BB, 1K; Casey Hampsey 1 1/3IP 3H 2R 2ER 2BB 2K.
2B—.NAN: Katie Wolfe, Morgan Thomas, Katie Brown; 3B— Jenn Harnischfeger. Top hitters – Jenn Harnischfeger 2-for-3 with a triple; Katie Brown was 1-for-1 with a 2-run double; Morgan Thomas 2-run double.