Pitching a perfect game stands among one of the most rare occurrences in today’s sports world. For years, sport scientists have conducted endless hours of research, spending the right amount of dollars just to imperfectly define the odds down to the last remaining digit.
Julia Morrow threw the only perfect game in Riverhead’s history back in 2010 as a senior. Now, a senior for UT, she’s done it again.
Not once, but twice. Morrow helped pave the way for the Spartan’s two game sweep over the No. 10 LIU Post Pioneers, earning her tenth victory of the season.
“It was just the right day at the right time, and the right batters not making contact,” Morrow said.
Previously named on the 50-player watch list for NCFA Division II National Player of the Year award, her performance this year might just be enough to land her a spot at the top of the list. Twenty one batters stepped up to the plate against Morrow, and all 21 retired.
She hurled seven perfect innings with 15 strikeouts. Not only did she record her second career perfect game, she racked up another no-hitter, which tallies eight perfect games and 27 no-hitters in school history. Both teams were held scoreless through the first five innings as Morrow and the Pioneers’ pitchers dominated the mound.
Tampa took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, which would eventually be the final score.
Morrow led the NCAA last year in earned run average (0.72) as a junior, which gave her the expectations of coming into this year’s season firing on all cylinders. Although Morrow has come close to throwing a no-hitter in the past, actually doing it would be hard to predict.
“My success comes from the work I’ve put in during the off season, a lot of time in the weight room, cardio and spending time with my pitching coach as well,” Morrow said. Jaci Davis is in her tenth season as the softball team’s pitching coach.
Davis has been instrumental in guiding one of the nation’s most premiere pitching staffs in Division II softball.
Also, it has helped develop All-American’s Deanna Henriott and Kayla Cox, with Cox being named National Pitcher of the Year in 2013.
Though Davis could not be reached at this time, head coach Leslie Kanter is more than pleased with the effort Morrow has given this year.“Julia has been pitching great for us this year. If she can stay healthy she can have a record setting year,” Kanter said.
Record setting indeed. Morrow has claimed her second Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Pitcher of The Week award, helping the Spartans improve their overall record to 16-8 on the year.
Morrow also pitched a three-game series against conference rivals, No. 15 Rollins, taking two of the three games against the SSC-leading Tars.
The Spartans currently sit sixth in the SSC standing at a 4-5 record, with much more room for improvement.
“We are not yet where I would like for the team to be at this point, but everything is coming together. Our mentality is if we do well enough in the conference games, we can make it to the postseason,” Kanter said.
As the softball team looks to improve and adapt throughout the season, one thing Morrow will not change is the mentality that she brings to the pitching circle.
“Going onto the mound I have a mentality of ‘twisting the knife.’ Pretty much that I am going to do anything and everything in my power to ease the job of my teammates and retire batters,” Morrow said.
Candace Martino can be reached at email@example.com