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Richmond freshman Erin Shuboy throws no-hitter, Blue Devils win 1st title

Softball   | Bill Khan

Richmond freshman Erin Shuboy throws no-hitter, Blue Devils win 1st title

 

 

East Lansing – Erin Shuboy was too focused to know what was going on, and nobody was allowed to mention it

It wasn't until a few minutes after the game, while talking with a reporter, that the Richmond freshman learned that she had thrown a no-hitter in a 2-0 victory over Vicksburg in the state Division 2 championship game on Saturday at Michigan State University.

"I didn't really know until someone told me," Shuboy said. "This is just crazy. I've just got to stay focused on every batter, take it a batter at a time, a play at a time."

Shuboy pitched the 14th no-hitter in a state softball final, the first since Mattawan's Lauren Gevaart had one in the 2011 Division 1 title game. Shuboy struck out seven, facing the minimum of 21 batters.

The only runner she allowed was pitching counterpart Avery Slancik, who walked with one out in the second inning. A grounder by Olivia Holmes forced out Slancik's courtesy runner, Lauren Goertler, at second. Holmes was then caught stealing by freshman catcher Kennedy Caperton to end the inning.

"As soon as I let go of it, I was like, 'I hope this is good,'" Caperton said.

Shuboy retired the last 16 batters in a Vicksburg lineup that had been hitting .433 as a team. Yet, even though the scoreboard told the story, she had no idea she'd pitched a no-hitter on the sport's biggest stage.

"We had to slow her down several times," Richmond coach Howard Stuart said. "Even the officials were telling us to slow her down. She was in such a hurry to get the ball and throw it. There was no mention of a no-hitter; not one word was said. Even at the end of the game, she didn't know. She was so focused. The team was not allowed to say anything to her."

Richmond's two runs came in the top of the fourth inning. Lindsay Schweiger led off with a single. She moved to third when the throw to first went into the outfield on a bunt by Allison Swantek.

Shuboy delivered the first run with a slow groundout to second base.

"I just wanted to make contact with it," Shuboy said. "That's all we had to do, get the RBI."

Swantek made it 2-0 when she raced home on a wild pitch.

"We made a couple of mistakes," Vicksburg coach Paul Gephart said. "Those couple of mistakes all happened together, and that led to the couple of runs."

It was Richmond's first state softball title after losing in the finals in 1985, ‘98 and ‘99. The Blue Devils (32-9) had reached the semifinals seven times prior to this season under Stuart, who is 954-288 in 38 seasons.

Shuboy broke down when asked what it meant to help deliver a title to Richmond's six seniors.

"I just wanted to help them out," she said. "I'm gonna cry. I just wanted them to have a good end of their senior year, and a state championship would be a perfect way."

One of those seniors, Schweiger, knows that the program has a bright future with Shuboy and Caperton returning for three more years as the team's battery.

"Erin handled it so well," Schweiger said. "She could be put in tough situations and play fantastic. Kennedy can throw people out like it's nothing. She's amazing at catching. They work so well together, because they've been playing with each other since they were little; all of us have, basically. They'll be good next year, too."

Slancik allowed six hits, struck out eight and didn't give up a walk for Vicksburg (36-9). She kept the game close by getting out of jams in the fifth and seventh innings after Richmond moved runners to third base.