Meghan Beaubien tosses perfect game, SMCC wins second straight titleSoftball  |
East Lansing - Meghan Beaubien will pitch for the University of Michigan in college, but she is extremely comfortable on Michigan State's home field.
Her latest gem at MSU's Secchia Stadium was a perfect game that carried Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central to its second straight Division 3 championship with a 6-0 victory over Grandville Calvin Christian on Saturday.
The junior star, who committed to Michigan her freshman year, struck out 15 of the 21 batters she faced to craft only the second perfect game in a title game. She was perfect in 12 innings of the semifinal and championship games this weekend.
"Winning the state championship is just great," Beaubien said. "I can't even describe it. A couple of years ago nobody would have ever thought our team would be here. Especially winning it back-to-back means a lot. It's a perfect game. That's always good, but it's more important that we win a state championship. I want to give my team the best chance there is to do that. Not letting anyone on base, that works out pretty well."
The only other perfect game was thrown by Tricia Van Der Slik of Kalamazoo Christian against Saginaw Swan Valley in the 2002 Division 3 championship game.
It was the 15th no-hitter in a state final and the second of the afternoon on the Secchia Stadium diamond to go with one by Richmond's Erin Shuboy in the Division 2 title game.
In four games on the Spartans' field the last two years for the semifinals and finals, Beaubien hasn't allowed a run, has three no-hitters, has given up only two hits and has struck out 58 of 81 batters in 26 innings.
"You've got to be able to perform under pressure," Beaubien said. "I love the pressure. I feel like I can do a really good job in that situation. I just go out and do my best, and it works out."
It took a defensive gem to preserve the perfect game in the seventh inning.
Calvin Christian sophomore Sarah Elderkin provided the only threat to the perfect game when she hit a grounder up the middle with one out in the seventh. Second baseman Peyton Bollenberg backhanded the ball and threw it to first base, where Liz Caldwell stretched out, made the catch and kept her foot on the base to barely beat Elderkin.
"It was a good play by second," Elderkin said. "You always have that feeling like, 'If I could only run harder,' but we had a great game. I feel like we all had some good hits. That team is very good. I think we're just blessed to have the ability to face a team like that. (Beaubien) is very good. She has a bright future ahead of her, I know that. They're a very good all-around team."
The two infielders involved in the play were very much aware of what was at stake for Beaubien.
"It was just one of those things where I had a feeling it might come to me," Bollenberg said. "I decided I'm going to go for it. I backhanded it and threw it."
Caldwell fully extended to stay on the base.
"All that was going through my mind was, 'You have to stretch, stretch now,'" Caldwell said. "I realized I needed to do my part, hold it and squeeze it."
After the close play at first, there was one more moment of temporary drama, as Kaleigh Whitcomb took the count to 3-1 with two outs. It was only the second three-ball count Beaubien had the entire game. On a 3-2 pitch, Whitcomb swung and missed to end the game.
Whitcomb matched Beaubien for two innings, allowing the Kestrels only one base runner to keep the game scoreless.
St. Mary C.C. had four straight singles and scored two runs on Beaubien’s two-run single to open the scoring.
The Kestrels broke it open with a three-run fifth. Once again, Beaubien was a factor in the rally. She got it started with a one-out single, scoring on a double by Kenna Garst. Grace Mikesell made it 5-0 with a two-run single up the middle.
It became 6-0 in the sixth when Abbey Johnson scored on an error.