Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Sports

Softball: Land O'Lakes' Callie Turner tosses no-hitter vs. River Ridge

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NEW PORT RICHEY — Inning by inning, Land O'Lakes ace Callie Turner kept getting opposing batters to whiff.

The sophomore, who has already committed to Tennessee, showed off an uncanny ability to read River Ridge hitters and decipher their intentions. She also had the control to execute the pitches she wanted.

Turner used her extensive repertoire of pitches, throwing them at different speeds to any spot she wanted — inside corner, outside corner, up, down.

The Royal Knights never stood a chance.

Turner threw a no-hitter and finished with 21 strikeouts. Yes, every out came via a strikeout. Her performance helped the Gators (12-1) avenge their only their loss of the season in a 1-0 victory over previously undefeated River Ridge (8-1).

"I've never seen anything like it," Land O'Lakes coach Mitch Wilkins said. "It was impressive to say the least — 21 strikeouts in seven innings."

Racking up a dizzying amount of strikeouts is nothing new for Turner. She had double digits in strikeouts in all but one game this season. In the lone game Turner was held to single digits, she pitched three innings and had nine strikeouts.

On Thursday, Turner was overpowering.

Only one batter made contact in the field of play on popup that dropped for an error. Turner also walked three others. No matter. Each time, Turner got out of the jam by getting the Royal Knights to take a seat.

Turner did not need much run support. She got the only one she needed in the top of the fourth inning when Ashley Smith hit a solo home run to left-centerfield.

What made the performance even more impressive was that Turner was in pain.

Earlier this week, she tweaked her back and the injury became more painful with each pitch on Thursday. By the final strikeout, Turner was in tears as she was tended to by trainers.

Wilkins said he will monitor Turner's status and see if she can possibly pitch one of the four games the Gators are scheduled to play this weekend at the Sarasota Spring Slam.

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