Fire-balling Franco tosses second no-hitter for St. Al|[02/27/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Some pitchers claim to be unhittable. So far this season, Sarah Franco actually is.

Franco threw a five-inning no-hitter — her second in as many starts — striking out 10 while only allowing one ball out of the infield in St. Aloysius’ 11-0 win over Sebastopol Monday evening at Bazinsky Park.

Franco didn’t face more than four batters in any inning and walked one. She also helped her own cause by reaching base in all four of her trips to the plate and scoring two runs.

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“That’s two no-hitters in a row, two shutouts in a row, 27 strikeouts in two games. So yeah, I’d say she’s doing her job,” St. Al coach Gene Rogillio said with a laugh. “You can relax a little more when you have a good, dominant pitcher. You can spend your afternoons working on hitting instead of worrying so much about defense.”

Besides not being able to hit, Sebastopol struggled to pitch as well. Kayla Monk and Ashley Maclemore combined to walk 11 batters, including seven during a six-run third inning that blew the game open.

Sebastopol coach Wayne Wilson blamed the poor play on a lack of practice time. More than half the starting lineup also played on the school’s basketball team that reached the South State Tournament. They didn’t pick up a softball until last week, and Monday’s game was their first of the season.

“Last year we lost to East Webster and they won the state championship. So we’re not an 11-0 team,” said Wilson, whose team reached the second round of the Class 1A-2A playoffs the last two seasons.

Rogillio can relate. The Lady Flashes have had six games rained out already and were playing for just the second time. It hardly seems to have affected them, though.

In addition to Franco’s dominance, St. Al has now scored 23 runs in its two games. They didn’t hit as well Monday as in their previous victory — a 12-0 rout of Florence in which they had nearly 20 hits — but they also didn’t have to. Nine of St. Al’s 11 runs against Sebastopol were scored by batters who reached base by something other than a hit.

In the big third inning, five of the seven players who walked went on to score. The other two, who had drawn two-out walks, were left on base. Two walks also came with the bases loaded, forcing in a pair of runs.

The Lady Flashes did sprinkle in a few big hits. Catelyn Park was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and three RBIs and Taylor George had an RBI single.

“You do what it takes to win the ballgame and take advantage of what they give you,” Rogillio said. “(Monk) was a little wild. When the other kid (Maclemore) came in she threw more strikes and we got a little more meat on it.”