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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, April 14, 2011
Gatt throws two complete games, one a no-hitter
By Jordan J. Michael
VOORHEESVILLE The Blackbirds and sophomore pitcher Amanda Gatt had a thrilling beginning to the softball season. Gatt threw two consecutive complete games, struck out 32 batters, and left one team hitless.
Gatt’s 14 straight innings started with a no-hitter against Maple Hill last Thursday striking out 18 batters and ended with a 9-to-2 victory over Watervliet on Friday, adding 14 more strikeouts.
After two amazing pitching performances in as many days and about 200 pitches later, Gatt stood, arms crossed on her home field with eye black smudged half way down each side of her face. She knew what she had accomplished, but remained surprisingly humble.
“I threw a lot of pitches, but my arm feels fine,” said Gatt, who threw a no-hitter last season. “I like the feeling of controlling a game, being in that circle.”
Maple Hill was no hit, but still managed to score four runs off Gatt, who walked four batters and hit another two with pitches. There were a few dropped third strikes and an error. All that contributed to the four runs.
“I didn’t know about it until after the game,” Gatt said of realizing the no-hitter. “There really wasn’t a celebration because it was a messy game. I can’t allow myself to get too excited.”
Whether Voorheesville celebrated Gatt’s performance or not, it still goes down in the record book as a no-hitter in softball no small feat for a sophomore in high school.
“She’s throwing great, but maybe has a little control issues,” said Head Coach Matt Fiato after Friday’s win. “She was absolutely overpowering yesterday.”
Gatt’s pitching continued to look strong on Friday, as she struck out the first three Watervliet batters for a quick first inning. In the top of the second, Taylor Daniels led off with a home run off Gatt, smoking a pitch to deep center field. A few batters later, Hera Merritt singled to right field.
It could have been easy for a pitcher to be rattled after giving up a couple of hits, but Gatt finished the inning with no further harm. “She kept her composure,” Fiato said. “I was glad to see that.”
Daniels hit another deep home run off Gatt in the sixth inning, this time to left field, but Voorheesville still had a 9-to-2 lead. Assistant Coach Jim Duncan said that Gatt herself had hit two home runs in a game at Watervliet last season.
Gatt told The Enterprise that she knows Daniels, crossing paths plenty of times in the past. “She’s an excellent player,” Gatt said. “You never want to give up any home runs, but I felt good for her.”
Fiato said that he told Gatt not to give Daniels any good pitches in her second at bat, but Daniels went deep again in her third at bat. “We went after her, but didn’t call the right pitches,” said Fiato. “We’ll see what happens next time.”
Down 1 to 0 in the bottom of the third inning, the Lady Birds exploded for five runs, which started with six consecutive hits. Bryn Davies singled, Anna Giampaglia was safe on a bunt, Gatt doubled, Brittany Fahd singled, Gabby Liguori singled, and Jen Brousseau bunted safely onto first base.
Kirsten Carroll was walked; scoring Fahd and the score was now 4 to 1 in Voorheesville’s favor.
Katie Plunkett, who was pitching for the Cannoneers, walked Davies with the bases loaded, scoring Liguori and increasing the Birds’ lead. The lengthy third inning finally came to a close but not before Gatt, Fahd, and Liguori all batted runs in.
“We feed off each others energy,” Gatt said. “We get really into it.”
Voorheesville got into another groove in the fifth inning, scoring four more runs with two outs. It was ignited by another great lead-off play Carroll beating out a ground ball, ending up at second base after a high throw. Carroll was on third when Davies drove her in with a single.
Giampaglia followed with another single, scoring Andrea Bollentin, and Gatt’s grounder got by Amanda Bennett at third base, scoring another run. Finally, Giampaglia scored off a double by Fahd that hit the gap.
It was officially a hitting party for Voorheesville and it seemed like every player was involved. The bats were wide awake.
“On the reverse, I just hope that all of our bats don’t go to sleep like that,” Fiato said. “Everyone was having fun.”
With all the active bats from the Blackbirds, Gatt’s brilliant pitching was almost unnoticed, but not quite. She finished Watervliet off with two more strikeouts in the seventh inning as the temperature started to dip.
“She’s very committed to softball,” Fiato said of Gatt. “She wants to get to the next level.”
“The feeling of winning drives me,” said Gatt. “All that I need is some ice after I get started.”