When Camas High softball pitcher Kennedy Ferguson took the mound against Union High on May 9, she knew a win would clinch a Papermaker league championship.
The pressure didn’t faze the ace pitcher. Once Ferguson started mowing down a few batters, she really got rolling, securing a league championship by throwing a perfect game: No walks, no hits, not even a pop fly out.
Ferguson faced 15 batters during the May 9 game, and struck out every one. The 13-0 game was called after five innings because the Papermakers scored seven runs in the fourth inning, pushing the score to 13-0 and triggering the “10-run mercy rule.”
Ferguson said she worried toward the end of the game that she might lose her perfect-pitching streak.
“I said to myself, ‘If I lose this, I’m going to be so mad,'” said a jubilant Ferguson seconds before her teammates surprised her from behind and marked the special moment by dumping ice water from a cooler over her head.
Perfect game doesn’t surprise coach
While this was Ferguson’s first perfect game, she did throw a few no-hitters this season and a few last year as well.
Head Camas softball coach Dale Lunde said one of Ferguson’s no-hitters this season was extremely close to being a perfect game.
“She threw a no-hitter with just one or two questionable walks earlier this season, but we love our blue,” Lunde said. “It’s hard to say Kennedy is getting stronger, but, well, she’s getting stronger.”
After throwing a perfect game, Ferguson immediately drove straight to her hitting trainer to put in yet another intense, highly focused workout.
Her parents, David and Deeann Ferguson, said their daughter, who will pitch at the Division I college level at University of New Mexico next year, deserves all the credit for her success.
“She’s worked so hard to get here,” Deeann said. “We can only push so far and the rest is all Kennedy.”
Lunde said Kennedy is always the first to show up and the last to leave.
“You hear that about ball players in many sports,” Lunde said. “Kennedy is proof that it really does pay off.”
Papermakers’ offense takes over
The Camas bats were as hot as their pitcher, racking up 17 hits during the game against Union. Kyli Obermiller, Payton Bates, Katie Hancock, Emery Ellis and Ferguson all racked up multiple hits. Catcher Abbi Wong kept the defense in sync and the Papermakers didn’t commit a single error in the game.
“Abbi had some unfortunate injuries early in the season, but now she’s on fire,” Lunde said. “I told her when I’m in the third base coaching box, you no longer have to listen to anything I say and she said, ‘Lunde, I got this.'”
Senior Kyli Obermiller has been improving all season, but her coach said the postseason is her specialty. Last year, Obermiller had nearly half her hits for the entire season in the bi-district and state tournaments, where Camas finished fourth in state.
“I feel like history is starting to repeat itself,” Lunde said. “(For) example, in practice the other day we couldn’t find Kyli. Where’s Kyli? We found her in the batting cage, by herself, doing drills.”
The Papermakers’ dominance this season has earned the team a No. 1 seed for the upcoming bi-district tournament, May 18-19 in Kent, Washington.