In sports, there is always the wild ‘what-if,’ perfect scenarios that are only dreamed about, like a basketball team scoring 200 points, a quarterback throwing for 600 yards, or hitting .400 on the year in baseball. Another one of those scenarios could be facing 21 batters in a complete softball game and striking out every single one. Unfortunately for the dreamers of elsewhere, this wild and miraculous scenario came true for University of North Texas softball player Hope Trautwein.
On April 11th, the softball teams of North Texas and Arkansas Pine Bluff were preparing to compete in a doubleheader for the day. It wasn’t until 21 outs later that players, coaches, and spectators would realize they witnessed history. For the first time in Division I softball history, a perfect game occurred where all 21 of the possible batters to come to the plate walked back to the dugout 3 strikes later. To complete her third career no-hitter, Trautwein never even reached a 3 ball count.
The statistics behind the pitching performance of the ages are monumental. Not one other pitcher in the history of the sport has thrown a game like that at that level. There have been other pitchers in past years to have 21 strikeouts in a game, but none were a perfect game.
To put Trautwein’s masterful performance into an even bigger perspective, we have to look at some of the greatest pitching performances by Major League Baseball players. In a perfect game, the highest recorded number of strikeouts to happen is 14 out of a possible 27. This number occurred in the perfect games of the Giants’ Matt Cain in 2012 and the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax back in 1965.
Despite making history, this elite group of pitchers Trautwein has put herself in did not even cross her mind when on the mound in the middle of the perfect game. In an interview with The Washington Post, Trautwein said she “… didn’t really realize what was happening, what kind of game this would become. At the end of the game, I was just like, ‘Phew, okay, another win, on to another game, because we had a doubleheader”.
What Trautwein loved most about her performance is the impact it has created on social media and the publicity that it has brought to the sport she loves. “It’s huge to see how softball is affecting the sports world right now because softball is one of the fastest-growing women’s sports,” she commented. Although many would not consider including this stat line with some of the greatest men to do it, the sheer notion of knowing that she was the first to ever do it is big in itself. Greenville’s Maegan Stone thinks this has huge implications for the future of softball and the public attention that can be drawn from crazy instances like the one that just happened for North Texas. Stone said, “Having someone do something that has never been done in any sport is awesome to see. As a pitcher, it is cool to see someone reach greatness in softball”.
Media by Noah Casali