Falcon sophomore McKayla Armbruster accomplished Thursday what all pitchers dream of, a perfect game.

It came in a 10-0 five-inning runaway from a very good Northfield Raider team at Alexander Park in Faribault.

I recall saying during the pre-game of my broadcast on Power 96 Radio that Armbruster really wasn't known as a strikeout pitcher.

Boy I could not have been more wrong. Armbruster fanned 11 of the 15 batters she faced.

She and her catcher Abby Van Ryn were locked in the entire game. Van Ryan is also a sophomore and calls the pitches.

After the game, the team took a photo of the historic achievement with Armbruster and Van Ryn in the pitcher's circle and the remainder of the team standing behind them and around the circle.

Faribault's fielders had very little work to do in the game but a stellar defensive play in the secnd inning helped preserve the perfect game.

Northfield cleanup hitter, sophomore Anne Fossum, hit a line drive that junior shortstop Bre Bresnaham ranging to her left had glance off her glove and bounce over to sophomore second baseman Lauren O'Neil. O'Neil quickly threw the ball to junior Cassie Swanson at first base and they just got Fossum for the first out. Swanson had a long stretch at first base to assist in recording the out.

The only other three outs in the game that were not strikeouts were a ground out to start the game, a pop up behind home plate caught by Van Ryn again off the bat of Fossum, and a pop out to Swanson caught in foul territory off the bat of No. 3 hitter sophomore Jilliam Noel.

Armbruster's changeup was working very well Thursday and Van Ryn called it at just the right time in each at bat.

It probably didn't hurt that the Falcons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Northfield sophomore Caroline Pritchard walked leadoff hitter Alison Schak, who stole second base.

Following a strikeout, designated player Claire Drentlaw smacked a infield single.

Bresnahan collected a single on a hit and run play that worked to perfection as the shortstop took a step toward third while Schak was heading there and the ball rolled right through the spot the shortstop vacated. Schak didn't score on the play because she lost her footing coming around third.

Swanson then hit a dribbler back to the pitcher and she threw home in an attempt to get the speedy Schak and the throw got away from the catcher, scoring Drentlaw also and Faribault had a 2-0 lead.

Armbruster threw 78 pitches in her perfect game with 55 strikes. She struck out two batters in the first, two in the second, the side in the third, two in the fourth and two in the fifth.

The Falcons had 11 batters step to the plate in the bottom of the third when they plated five runs to break the game open.

Schak led the inning with a hard-hit double, Armbruster collected a single and stole second and Drentlaw was walked to load the bases. Bresnahan hit a grounder down the first base line and was tagged out running to first but Schak scored on the play.

Swanson hit a towering fly ball to right field that was dropped by the outfielder scoring Armbruster. Sophomore third baseman Ellie Knutson hit a grounder that scored Drentlaw because the shortstop flipped the ball to second to get Swanson in hopes of turning a double play but Northfield was unable to do so.

Knutson stole second and third base. Van Ryn hit a hard single to left field, scoring Knutson. Junior left fielder Camryn Salmonsen smacked a single, advancing Van Ryn to third base. Van Ryn scored on a wild pitch.

The Raiders changed pitchers, bringing in senior Sierra Barck.

O'Neil executed a perfect bunt for a single. Schak was walked and Armbruster hit a grounder to the third baseman, who stepped on the bag to get Salmonsen and record the final out of the inning.

The Falcons scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to put them in a position for the early end to the game by the 10-run rule.

Drentlaw led the inning off with a hard hit double.

Bresnahan hit a grounder to short that I ruled an error and Swanson hammered the ball back to Barck. She knocked it down in self defense with the glove coming off her hand and recovered nicely to record the out of Drentlaw at third base.

Knutson flew out to right field and it looked like the Raiders might get out of the inning with no damage, but Van Ryn coaxed a walk and Salmonsen crushed a double to left center, clearing the bases.

The inning ended when O'Neil grounded out to second.

Faribault is now 3-0 and Northfield fell to 1-2 on the young season.

The Falcons will face their stiffest test of the season Tuesday when they go to Mankato East and Northfield hosts Stewartville on Monday in a nonconference game.

McKayla Armbruster Final Pitch in Perfect Game -photo by Gordy Kosfeld
McKayla Armbruster Final Pitch in Perfect Game -photo by Gordy Kosfeld

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