Wes Holly has had a lot of outstanding pitchers pass through his softball program at Milligan College over the years, but the coach hadn’t witnessed a perfect game in the last two decades.
That changed Wednesday when Kimberly Robinson, a freshman from Vilas, N.C., accomplished the feat in the opener of a doubleheader at Virginia Intermont.
“I was really a little surprised,” Holly said Thursday, “but Kimberly has been working hard and getting better. That should give her a little more confidence for the rest of the season.”
Holly, in his 26th year at Milligan, said the last pitcher to throw a perfect game for him was Tonya Bailey in 1994. The Daniel Boone product had three in her college career to go along with seven no-hitters.
Robinson even bears some resemblance to Bailey in her heyday, said Holly.
“They’re both about six feet tall and throw in the mid-60s,” he said. “The thing with Kimberly is that she’s been a little wild, but she just painted the corners yesterday.”
Robinson had four strikeouts, nine groundouts and eight fly balls in the 2-0 victory. The Lady Buffs managed only two hits themselves, but one of those was a two-run homer by Krista Lambdin in the third.
Robinson improved to 3-1, with a 1.73 ERA in eight appearances. She said she didn’t shy away from the possibilities as the game wore on.
“A couple of innings before the end I guess I realized what was going on,” she said. “I’ve never thrown a perfect game before, so it motivated me to try to do it.”
Holly recalled some near misses by his pitchers in recent years.
Sidney Burns, he said, had two perfect games go down to the last out; one was spoiled by an error and another by a bloop hit. Chancli Connatser, currently a senior, has also had one-hitters with no one else reaching base.
“It takes a little luck to get the perfect game,” said Holly.
Robinson also homered in the second game of the double-header Wednesday as the Lady Buffs swept with a 13-3 victory. In fact, she leads the team in home runs, with five, and is batting .317.
Asked whether she’s rather be in the circle or at the plate, she laughed.
“I like them both,” said Robinson. “I worked a lot over the winter and am just glad to have the opportunity to get playing time as a freshman.”
She’s playing for a team that has won eight in a row and leads the Appalachian Athletic Conference. The Lady Buffs (13-8) are 10-0 as they prepare to host Columbia on Sunday.
The baseball team saw its six-game win streak snapped in the opener of a home series last Saturday against Reinhardt.
But the Buffs responded to the 5-2 loss by salvaging a split of the double-header and then winning the series on Sunday. They were 14-9 overall heading into a non-conference game Wednesday night against Emory & Henry and 7-5 in the conference.
That puts the Buffs in a tie for fifth place in the standings. No. 19 Union leads the way at 9-3, followed by Reinhardt and Bryan at 8-4.
Mitchell Sutton finished second at the 22nd annual Southeast Kentucky Intercollegiate golf tournament Tuesday.
The sophomore from Locust Grove, Ga., carded rounds of 75-71-74 over the Crooked Creek course in London to finish three strokes behind medalist Viktor Madsen of University of the Cumberlands. Cameron Dugger and Simon Treeby also had top-20 showings.
The Buffs tied for third in the 10-team field. University of the Cumberlands, the host, won it.
Milligan is ranked 18th nationally in women’s tennis this week, but it can expect to be tested on Saturday.
The Lady Buffs (10-4, 2-0) take on SCAD Atlanta (4-2, 1-0) in a match moved to the Bristol Racquet & Fitness Club because of the threat of wet weather. The action begins at 1:30.
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