LEBANON — Bagging a no-hitter is a dream of many high school softball pitchers and throwing a no-hitter as a freshman in a regional championship game adds even more icing to the cake.
Lebanon freshman Emily Reinneck threw the first no-hitter of her career against the Metro East Lutheran Knights in the Class 1A Lebanon Regional at Hank Feldt Field on Saturday. The Greyhounds (9-19) defeated the Metro East Lutheran Knights 7-0. MELHS concluded the season at 5-20.
As for the Lebanon freshman, she admitted she took the contest pitch by pitch and inning by inning.
“At first I didn’t know I had a no hitter, but when he told me (Lebanon coach Brent Wood) it was a big shock and a happy shock at the same time,” Reinneck said.
Reinneck fanned 11 batters and walked two. Wood credited Reinneck’s rise curveball.
“She mixes it up, in and out and up and down,” he said. “She has a good change up and a good curveball and an average fastball, she’s only a freshman. Her ball jumps, she’s got a lot of movement on the ball.”
Reinneck credited her teammates for backing her up on offense and defense. The Greyhounds banged out nine hits against Metro pitcher Cierra Frields. Frields struck out two batters and walked two. Knights' coach Colin McLaughlin thought his team had opportunities, but just hit into some tough luck on the day.
“The balls we hit hard, we hit right at somebody,” he said. “We put a few balls in play that are hits if it’s a foot or two off, but that’s not what happened.”
Lebanon pulled ahead early. Mallory Schmitt’s one-run single in the first inning gave the Greyhounds a 1-0 lead. The Greyhounds tacked on another run in the second with Reinneck’s one-run single, as Lebanon went up 2-0. The Greyhounds added two more runs in the third. Kendra Bass’ one-run triple and Alanna Boothby’s sacrifice fly gave Lebanon a 4-0 advantage.
The Knights’ defense made a stand in the next two innings. The Greyhounds failed to score in the fourth inning and stranded one in the fifth.
“For the most part, we made the defensive plays we needed to,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a 7-0 game, there’s not one defensive play that’s going to be a deciding factor. It’s a disappointing loss for this to be a no-hitter at the end of the season. But I don’t think we played all that poorly. We just bad some balls that didn’t fall in for hits.”
Lebanon added two more runs in the sixth. Melody Cornell ran home from third after a wild pitch and Josie Schubert scored after a passed ball.
This year marked McLaughlin’s first year as a head coach, as he served as an assistant for two years under Rob Stock, who is now the MELHS director of athletics, before being named head coach. The Knights won three more games than they did a year ago, so it was a step in the right direction. They won their first regional game since 2013, when they advanced to the 1A Hardin (Calhoun) Regional finals only to lose to the host Warriors.
“It’s an improvement,” McLaughlin said. “If you watch a lot of those losses of ours, they weren’t the same losses as last year. This is a significantly better team than last year and I think next year we’ll be significantly better again. We’ll have a lot of these girls come back.”
Lebanon now advances to the New Athens Sectional semifinals, where it will meet Clay City at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Clay City defeated Woodlawn 11-3 in the Clay City Regional finals.