Flawless. Exquisite. Exemplary. Superb. Or better yet, perfect.
Hobbs pitcher Kynsie Bennett accomplished something that no other Hobbs pitcher has ever done Thursday night when she threw a perfect game as the Lady Eagles beat Clovis 12-0 in the opener of a district doubleheader at Veterans Memorial Complex.
“I was real relaxed out there with no nerves,” Bennett said. “I was having fun and had my defense behind me and just living life as a softball player.”
While she didn’t strike anyone out, Bennett, a sophomore, was economical with her pitches and dominated the Lady Wildcats all game.
“It was not bad. Nobody touched first base for (Clovis). It was a pretty good game,” Hobbs coach Dean Crossland said. “It was top of the fourth inning when I realized it when the leadoff hitter came up for the second time. (Bennett) pitched real good and used minimal pitches. I think her biggest inning was 10 pitches.”
The only sign of trouble the whole game came on the final play when eighth-grader Kaiya Boyle fielded a ground ball a t second and made the throw to first that Karissa Garcia dropped. However, the Lady Eagles’ first baseman was able to pick up the ball and tag the base to get the final out, ending the game, and preserving the perfecto.
“It got my heart racing a little bit,” Bennett said. “But she is a great first baseman. She picked it up right there to get the third out.”
As the final play happened, Cross-land had his doubts.
“I knew right then that we were for sure going to get the no-hitter, but I didn’t know about the perfect game,” the Lady Eagles coach said. “It made the heart beat a little bit, but we had good composure there at first base and they didn’t get rattled. She left her foot on the base and picked the ball up.”
Of the 15 outs Bennett recorded, only one was hit to the outfield. Clovis’ second batter of the game lined out to centerfield. Kamryn Cantu didn’t even have to move to catch the ball.
Shortstop Chloe Hinojos was busy. The freshman infielder was involved in seven putouts. She fielded ground balls and made the throw to first to end the first and start the second and had two ground balls to start the third. In the fourth she caught a line drive right at her for the second out then ended the inning by catching a shallow fly ball in left field. She had another ground ball in the fifth.
While Bennett was preventing the Lady Wildcats from having any sort of offense, the Lady Eagles had plenty of it. Hobbs banged out eight hits, five extra-base hits, two homers and three doubles as well as drawing four walks.
“It felt good that my offense had my back,” Bennett said. “I was working hard out in the circle then coming in and us having sticks felt good and the other team not having sticks felt good as a pitcher and as a teammate.”
The Lady Eagles scored twice in the first, third, and fourth innings while plating six runs in the second. All four Lady Eagles who walked came around to score. Anaya Rodriguez was 2-for-3 with a solo homer, a double, and two runs scored. Kimber Craig also homered, belting a two-run shot to right-center in the fourth. Craig finished the game 2-for-3 with four runs batted in. Hinojos scored twice as did Cantu, Boyle, and Kamryn Harrison.
“Both of those (homers) were hit pretty hard,” Crossland said. “Even the second one Anaya (Rodriguez) hit to left-center was hit really well too. (Rodriguez) is coming out of a slow start and starting to hit for us. It was really nice to see Kimber (Craig) get one too.”
Hobbs won the second game 15-0 in three innings. Garcia pitched a one-hitter while striking out two.
With the sweep, Hobbs improves to 5-5 on the season and 2-0 in District 4-5A. The Lady Eagles will prepare for a road trip to Roswell on Saturday for a make-up doubleheader against the Lady Coyotes.