In the final days of March, a Japanese pitcher received international attention -- from here at Prep Rally and elsewhere -- for a remarkable yet likely dangerous performance during the winter Koshien Tournament.
As reported by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, among other sources, Bradenton (Fl.) Braden River High softball ace Courtney Mirabella pitched all 16 innings of a marathon, 1-0 victory against Sarasota (Fl.) George Jenkins High.
Mirabella scattered 12 hits over the course of her 16 innings, working out of jams more than once. Still, she more than overcame those hits and walks with 20 strikeouts and uncanny control; she walked just one batter and threw 165 of her 217 offerings for strikes.
Braden River eventually emerged victorious on a line drive RBI from Hannah Loyer in the bottom of the 16th inning.
Incredibly, this was the second-straight game in which Mirabella had performed a remarkable feat on the mound. As noted by USA Today, the pitcher struck out 20 of 21 batters in a 9-0 perfect game victory against Bradenton (Fl.) Palmetto High earlier in the week.
Put the two games together, and the senior North Carolina State signee struck out 4o batters in 23 innings ... with just one walk.
While Mirabella’s full game stats are nigh on unbelievable, they also raise significant questions about her use. While softball pitchers are less likely to fray shoulders and other arm ligaments, 16 innings and 217 pitches is a preposterously long outing for anyone.
No, Florida softball isn’t Japanese baseball, where teens routinely throw their hardest until they have to raise a white flag, but Mirabella was clearly still working for every ounce of velocity and strength she could muster throughout Braden River’s win.
There have been no public comments about the victory from Braden River coach Erin Spivey, though there are likely plenty of people who would like to know whose decision it was to let Mirabella keep plowing through innings, whether the pitcher wanted to or not.
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