Of all the great softball performances turned in around the country this year, it's hard to imagine any comparing with the one turned in by a pitcher in Texas.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Royse City (Texas) High ace Alicia Pille pitched an incredible 16-inning shutout in the first game of a best-of-three playoff series against Corsicana (Texas) High. Even more incredibly, both the Morning News and Corsicana Daily Sun reported that Pille struck out a whopping 33 batters in those 16 innings, an average of more than two per inning.
Pille -- a Kansas signee, who is pictured at right -- reportedly had a perfect game through more than nine innings. Considering the fact that softball games traditionally last just seven innings, that's a heck of an accomplishment in itself. Still, the senior ace had to put up another seven innings of shutout pitching before her teammates finally broke through with a run to earn a series-starting victory.
Pille wasn't the only pitcher putting in a memorable start that night, either. Corisicana ace Betsy Woodall pitched all 16 innings of the marathon herself, finishing with 13 strikeouts. The Daily Sun reported that Woodall threw more than 250 pitches in the game. It has yet to be reported exactly how many Pille threw in the game, but by the sheer number of batters she faced her total had to reach above 160 pitches.
The 16-inning contest lasted nearly five hours, yet it still wasn't long enough to get Pille into the top-10 all-time list of single-game strikeouts in prep softball. That all-time record is the property of former Fairfield (Calif.) High star Alicia Hollowell, who struck out an astounding 61 batters in a 30-inning game in 2001.
Yet it seems a stretch to say that anyone, even Hollowell, would have done what Pille did to follow up her masterful Thursday night the next day. With Game 2 scheduled for Friday night, Pille successfully lobbied to pitch again. She again went the distance as Royse City eliminated Corsicana with a 5-0 victory, keyed by 13 Ks from its ace.
Equally amazingly, Pille isn't done striking out Corsicana batters yet, either. On Monday, the Morning News reported that Royse City was forced to forfeit its 5-0 victory on Friday because it inadvertently used an ineligible player. That forced the series to a third game, which will be played Tuesday night.
To the surprise of no one, Pille will take the mound again for that contest. Considering the fact that she's yet to yield a run against Corsicana, Royse City will have to like it's chances of advancing in the playoffs ... again.