Perfect 10s: Raiders improve to 10-0 with 10-run rout of Cyclones behind Bunte’s no-hitter
QUINCY — Caitlin Bunte didn’t expect a blustery wind blowing straight out to center field Monday afternoon to alter anything she needed to do in the pitcher’s circle.
“If I’m hitting my spots, even with the wind blowing, I knew we’d be fine,” she said.
Then the Quincy Notre Dame softball team’s left-handed hurler saw her first changeup wiggle with the wind.
“That one did get to me,” Bunte said. “It started moving and (QND pitching coach Lori Vogel) looked at me funny. I was like, ‘Oh.’ But it was all right though. We made the adjustments.”
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin couldn’t.
Bunte mowed down the Cyclones, tossing a five-inning no-hitter with 10 strikeouts as the Raiders remained undefeated with a 10-0 victory at The Backyard. If not for a one-out walk in the fifth inning, Bunte would have thrown a perfect game.
“You saw it,” QND catcher Morgan Zanger said. “The wind didn’t affect her.”
Her pitches have plenty of movement to begin with, so a little extra tail to the inside didn’t change much.
“Setting up on the outside of the plate a little more was key,” Zanger said. “She had a lot of movement today. Her curves were amazing. She has a lot of control over her ball.”
Bunte threw 62 pitches with 44 for strikes. The only time she went deep into the count was in the fifth inning when SHG’s Ella Selinger worked a full count before walking. Bunte followed by inducing a pair of groundouts to end the inning.
“She’s really fun to catch,” Zanger said. “Her pitches are spot on, and it’s really fun to see all the movement. She makes it really easy for me.”
Her defense makes it easy for everyone, too, even if the wind didn’t make it easy on them.
With one out in the fourth inning, SHG’s Libby Kulek drove a ball into right field that carried with the wind and forced QND right fielder Faith Kientzle to track backward and make a diving catch. Bunte followed with a strikeout to end the inning.
“We’re going to be solid defensively, and I like that,” QND coach Eric Orne said.
The Raiders (10-0) hit the ball with authority as well. They scored three times in each of the first two innings with Bunte hammering a three-run home run to center field in the second inning. QND scored on a pair of grounders in the third inning, and Bunte finished the rout with a two-run home run to center field in the fifth.
“I was looking for something to hit and she gave it to me,” Bunte said. “I was trying to take advantage of anything she gave me.”
Bunte has been doing that all season from the leadoff spot.
“Hitting-wise, she’s been consistent as heck,” Orne said. “We can’t keep that under the blanket very much longer. She’s doing a great job at the plate.”
The Raiders had only four hits, took advantage of six walks and consistently put the ball in play. They struck out only twice.
“I like our efficiency,” Orne said.
The quality at-bats are contagious.
“It seems like if one of us gets a hit or one of us gets on that we all like to follow suit,” Bunte said. “We all go up there with confidence and saying, ‘If she gives us one, we’re hitting it.’ We’re not letting good pitches go by. We do really good attacking.”
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