PORTER TOWNSHIP — Boone Grove right-hander Kellie Marcheschi achieved a goal that many pitchers in either softball or baseball hope to achieve when they take the circle or mound on any given day.
The rather humorous part of it all is she didn’t even knew she threw a no-hitter until the final box score tallies had been announced on Saturday morning.
The Western Illinois signee threw a two-walk, no-hit, 12-strikeout beauty on Saturday morning in the semifinals of the Porter County Conference Tournament against PCC round-robin champion South Central (17-4), lifting Boone Grove within one of its fifth PCC Tournament title in the last six seasons with a 3-0 victory.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know I threw a no-hitter until the end of the game,” Marcheschi said. “It wasn’t that I was throwing hard, it was that I was hitting my spots today.”
Asked what was working best for her during the gem, Marcheschi simply said with a laugh, “Mostly, every single pitch.”
Shs allowed just three baserunners with the two walks and a two-out error in the top half of the opening inning, but that was all the Satellites could muster against the senior. Marcheschi retired 13 of the final 14 hitters she faced with the lone miss coming on her second walk of the game in the bottom half of the seventh inning with Skyler Wildfong drew a five-pitch walk.
“Kellie pitched a really great game for them today,” Satellites coach Tony Wallace said. “She’s a great player, a great player, and we always look forward to meeting her because she comes with her best every time. We have to answer with the bats and we just didn’t do that. We had a couple errors that didn’t really hurt us too badly. Holly (Noveroske) pitched a great game for us and we were in there the whole time.”
The Wolves struck first in the home half of the second frame when catcher Kailyn Coates reached on an error and advanced to second on a passed ball. A grounder back to Noveroske from Emily Zoll put Coates on third base with one away. Noveroske fanned Katelynn Downham, but freshman left fielder Caitlin Dziewicki drilled an RBI single to left to put the home side up 1-0.
“For the kids to come back (after a 4-3 loss to S.C. five days ago) and play the way they did today was great,” Wolves coach Ron Saunders said. “I can’t give enough credit to Kellie. I’ve always been the coach to say, ‘I don’t care how hard you throw. It’s how you throw.’ I told Kellie, ‘You didn’t throw the hardest I’ve ever seen you throw, but this is the best game I’ve ever seen you throw.’”
One run was all the insurance Marcheschi would need against the S.C. lineup, as she walked Faith Biggs with two away in the third inning, but then proceeded to strike out Friday’s hero Delanie Gale. She retired 11 straight hitters following Gale’s punchout, including a stretch where she fanned six of seven Satellites from the top of the fourth to two away in the top of the sixth.
In the home half of the fifth, the Wolves iced the game with a pair of runs off two errors sandwiched between a pair of singles from leadoff hitter Erica Hoffman and Zoll, who drove in Elise Richards to make it 3-0 Wolves with three outs left for S.C.
“It was really key for us, not to just score some insurance runs late, but to come out and score first,” Marcheschi said. “Getting the early run was key and then the two runs later were just a bonus for me. It really helped a lot knowing that I had some runs behind me now.”
Marcheschi got two quick outs to start the seventh, walked Wildfong and then punched out Elle Kimmel to secure Boone Grove’s ticket to the tournament final, where the Wolves routed Kouts (14-8) on Saturday afternoon. The Fillies outslugged Washington Township (11-6) 14-11 in the other semifinal.
“We beat them kinda how they beat us the first time,” Saunders said. “We had one error and then an out later, (Biggs) hit a three-run homer and we lose by one. You just find a way to win. There’s two good teams here and they go undefeated in the round-robin with a good pitcher and good coaching. It’s a good win for us. I’ve been pretty lucky here the last six, seven years where we’ve either won the round-robin, the tournament or both. We’ve been a part of the finals a few times. The kids could’ve folded against a great team and they didn’t.”
Porter County Conference Tournament
Boone Grove 3, South Central 0
Holly Noveroske pitched six innings of three-hit ball.