Danielle Lung has an achievement that all the Clovis High pitching greats of the past — from Amanda Scott to Jamie Southern to Jennifer Reynolds — can’t match.
Lung capped a dazzling freshman season with a no-hitter as the top-seeded Cougars beat No. 2 Central 2-0 on Thursday for the Central Section Division I softball championship, the program’s eighth since 1991.
Neither Scott nor Reynolds captured a section title as freshman, while Southern pitched a one-hitter in a 2-0 victory over Exeter for the 1997 championship.
“Amanda Scott, Jamie Southern, Jennifer Reynolds were all great ones,” coach Mike Noel said. “But none of them did this. To go out as a freshman and throw and compete as she did was special.”
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Lung (21-1) was perfect through four innings, then allowed her first runner with a leadoff, five-pitch walk to Karen Zamora in the top of the fifth.
An unusual double play helped keep Lung out of any trouble as Central’s Gianna Mancha laid down a sacrifice right in front of the plate, which Clovis catcher Cameryn Reichle grabbed and fired to second base in time to get courtesy runner Arianna Navarrete.
Cougars shortstop Cayla Broussard then threw wildly to first, with Mancha breaking for second. The overthrow was recovered by second baseman Kennedy Diaz, who threw to Broussard in time for the tag.
“My defense did phenomenal getting the no-hitter,” Lung said. “Without them, this couldn’t happen.”
Lung faced one batter over the minimum and only allowed four of her 93 pitches (63 for strikes) to leave the infield, including a blast caught at the center field fence by Mackenzie Emmett in the fourth inning.
“She was dominant,” Central coach Scott Gorton said. “She pounded the strike zone early and made us swing at pitches we didn’t want to swing at. She had our number today. I thought we had a good game plan coming in, but she controlled the action. She was very impressive for a young kid.”
Alyssa Caballero provided Clovis (33-6) with the only run it would need when she hit a first-pitch, outside curveball from Mancha into the trees beyond the center field fence in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Caballero said she took at least 60 cuts in practice Wednesday against outside pitches, preparing for exactly what she saw from the Boise State oral commit Mancha.
“I got the pitch I was looking for,” said Caballero, who added she knew it would be a home run on contact. “I was just thinking about my girls and getting them a run.”
Clovis got an insurance run in the fifth when with runners at the corners, Reichle broke for second and stopped halfway in the middle, daring Central catcher Alyssa Avila to throw her out with the speedy Broussard at third. Avila threw wildly to second and Broussard scored.
The rest was up to Lung, who was perfect over the final two innings and finished with 10 strikeouts.
“I felt really confident today,” Lung said. “And after (Caballero) hit that home run, I was more confident.”
Central (35-7) was in the section finals for the third time in four years, having won consecutive titles — the school’s first — in 2012 and 2013.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly credited the relay throw that completed a double play for Clovis in the fifth inning.