Pitcher perfect

By Staff
Rebecca James Franklin County Times
PHIL CAMPBELL – The odds of pitching a perfect game are about 76,000 to one.
The odds of throwing a perfect game and having it end at the hands of the mercy rule are off the charts.
Phil Campbell Senior hurler Melissa Russell defied all odds Tuesday night, shutting down 15 consecutive batters in a five inning, 12-0 romp over Lynn High School.
Russell struck out 10 of the 15 batters she faced to improve her record to 10-6 on the year, and improved Phil Campbell's record to 11-6 for the season.
Russell was 3 for 4 at bat, and scored one run, 1 single, and two doubles.
"Melissa is an ace and she has done a great job for us so far this year," Phil Campbell Softball Coach Greg Winstead said.
Russell's accomplishment may not have been a surprise to her coach, but it was a surprise to her.
"I just thought the game was going to be a shut-out," she said.
"I was really excited, I really didn't expect to pitch a perfect game."
Superstition runs rampant through all sports at all levels, and high school softball is no different.
Usually, whenever a pitcher is working on a no-hitter or perfect game, their teammates tend to stay far away from them in the dugout and will not mention in any way (not even to other teammates) that a no-hitter is in progress.
Many players think talking about it jinxes the pitcher trying for the no-hitter. So as the game rolled into and out of the fifth inning, Russell was still left out of the loop.
"I didn't even know that I had until after I went back to the dugout," she said.
"My dad told me that I had just pitched a perfect game. I was really surprised. I couldn't have done it without the rest of the team."
Russell helped her own cause by going 3/4 at bat. Carrie Fell went 1/1 and drew three walks and Alexis Maggerise went 1/2 and drew two walks.
The good news continued for Phil Campbell Tuesday.
In the second game of the double-header, they won 9-5 and improved their record to 12-6 overall.
Kim Clark got the win with six innings pitched and eight strikeouts.
From the pate, Caitlin Stancil and Shaela Pace each went 3/4 and Amber Chaney went 2/2.

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