E.A. Sports Today

Pitcher perfect

Cleburne County’s Ackles strikes out all 18 Saks batters she faced in Lady Tigers’ first-ever perfect game



By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN — Before the game Cleburne County pitcher and slugger Kiara Ackles was asked if she was going to help win the game with her bat or her arm.

She responded with a big confident smile and said, “Both.”

The answer was perfect – just like she was.

Ackles blasted a two-run homer in the first inning and struck out all 18 Saks batters she faced in pitching the school’s first-ever softball perfect game, 10-0, Thursday night.

The fifth-ranked Tigers (17-2) didn’t give her a chance to strike out the side in the seventh, scoring four in the sixth to end the game by run rule.

“I really felt good out there tonight,” Ackles said. “I was getting them out with my curve and drop-curve. It was my first perfect game of the year.”

Ackles threw 76 pitches, 63 for strikes. She threw 15 first-pitch strikes and never had a three-ball count in the game. The closest she came to losing the gem was one dropped third strike late in the game, but catcher Chelsea Parker quickly recovered it and threw out the runner.

“She threw really hard tonight,” Tigers pitching coach Todd Gable said. “She had good movement and hit all her spots.

“I chart every pitch so I knew it was happening, I just didn’t talk about it or think about it. I held my breath a little when the ball got away, but Chelsea made a great play, recovered fast and has a rocket arm, so it turned out good.”

Ackles provided all the offense the Tigers would need with her homer, but Amber Parker and Shay Henson also homered in the 13-hit attack. Mallory Nolan added three hits and Parker had two.

“I thought the coolest thing about the whole thing was when we talked to the team after the game no one knew what just happened; they just knew they won and that was it,” Gable said. “We told them it was a perfect game and they said, ‘Really?’ so they were just focused on the area win, which I thought was pretty cool.”

Cover photo by Jonathan Fordham/J&E Art&Design. Inside photo by Brant Locklier.

Cleburne County 10, Saks 0

Saks (3-9-2) 000 000 – 0 0 4
Cleburne Co. (17-2) 200 134 – 10 13 0

WP – Kiara Ackles. LP — Lanie Dreyer. HR: Kiara Ackles, Amber Parker, Shay Henson.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login