By Josh Schafer, HockomockSports.com Contributor
CANTON, Mass. — The ball rolled slowly back to Clara Cook. The senior pitcher carefully scooped the grounder and lobbed it to first base for the game’s final out of a 3-0 victory for Sharon over Davenport rival Canton.
There was no wild celebration, but Cook smiled wide as she removed her protective face mask while walking towards home plate.
Cook had just thrown her first career no-hitter.
Sharon entered the game following a loss to Milford a day prior, in a game that saw Cook get hit with three line balls.
While the bruise from the incident remained, no such signs were shown on the field. The right hander struck out four batters while walking just two in a complete game effort. Canton earned just four baserunners as batters reached first on two errors to compliment the walks.
“I think she did everything well,” Sharon head coach Deb Parker said. “To even have her come back and be able to throw today…this kid has thrown with a leg brace on, her wrist wrapped, a giant bruise on her shin. To come back and have a no-hitter is what she’s about.”
Cook stifled the Canton offense with specific pitch placement, picking corners on the first at bat of the game and earned the looking strikeout on just three pitches. Two groundouts to second base rounded out the three-up, three-down inning.
And the sequence looked strikingly similar throughout the next six innings. Canton batters had trouble latching onto Cook’s pitches.
A hard hit ball nearly put the no-hitter in question in the seventh inning but it was ruled an infield error. A mishap at first base in which the exchange from second and third floated high provided Canton one of its baserunners.
“The last time we played them they hit the ball really well.” Parker said, reflecting on her team’s 9-4 victory against Canton on April 20th. “So, I was a little surprised to no-hit them.”
Sharon’s three runs all involved freshman Shoshana Lowe. She cranked the game’s first hit deep to right center field and reached third standing after some ball bobbling in the Canton outfield. Jenika Patel knocked in Lowe three batters later as she ripped a line drive just over a reach Canton defender’s glove and down the third base line.
Lowe hit a similar ball an inning later, which despite being caught, scored Jamie Kessler on a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Allison Small scored on Lowe’s final hit of the day which didn’t travel as far as her first two. But the blooper landed in the gap between shortstop and right field giving Small all the time she needed.
“I think [Clara] moved the ball well,” Parker said. “Sammy [Marglous], our catcher, calls a great game. Going into the game we don’t really know what we are going to see and Sammy does a good job with that.”
Sharon improves to 6-13 (4-12 Hockomock) and will close out the season on Thursday against Milton. Canton finishes the season 1-19 but the future looks bright with a strong core returning for first-year head coach Jen Robillard.
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