Cabrini hopes to take next step at state softball tournament _lowres

Photo provided by Carbini High Cabrini High School pitcher Karli Perque

Cabrini’s softball team didn’t waste any time grabbing a lead over Grant in Friday’s playoff game.

Then, Cabrini pitcher Karli Perque took care of the rest.

Perque threw a no-hitter with 17 strikeouts and Christie Runnels hit for the cycle to help the No. 3 Crescents (25-6) run away with a 10-0 win over the No. 14 Cougars in a Class 4A second-round playoff game that was called after six innings at The Fly on Friday afternoon.

“We came out swinging the bats in the first inning, and we want to take care of business when we can,” Cabrini coach Shannon Austin said. “They’ve done a great job of putting the ball in play and scoring for us, and the bats just came out today.

“And (Perque) knew it was do-or-die for us. I’d give her the ball any time I knew we needed a win.”

Perque was dominant on the mound the entire game and struck out the first 12 Grant batters she faced before Madison Wynn drew a leadoff walk to begin the fifth inning. That was be the only baserunner Perque allowed the entire game.

With her 17-strikeout performance in Friday’s win, the senior increased her season total to 302 strikeouts.

“I knew I got close last year, and I wanted to push myself my senior year to get over 300,” she said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Cabrini jumped on Grant (16-16) immediately with two singles to begin the game, then Runnels sent a line drive over the left field wall to give the Crescents their first runs of the game on a three-run home run. Cabrini added RBI singles from Danielle Williams and Megan Clement to take a 5-0 lead after the first inning.

After going scoreless over the next four innings, Cabrini got things going on offense again in the sixth inning after an RBI single by Jessica Breitenbach. Runnels followed that up with a two-run triple — which completed her cycle — and Kaylin Hilburn’s RBI single gave the Crescents a 10-0 lead and brought the game to an end because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Runnels ended the day 4-for-4 at the plate with five RBIs.

“We knew she was going to get it done. She is one of the hardest workers on the team,” Perque said of Runnels’ performance. “She’s always in the batting cage hitting and working to get better, so we know she can get those big hits for us whenever she gets the chance.”

Cabrini, which won its first two playoff games by a combined score of 25-0, will move on to play in the Fast Pitch 56 state tournament next week in Sulphur against No. 6 Bastrop, which beat No. 11 Beau Chene on Friday.

“We always preach one day and one game at a time,” Austin said. “We’re going to focus on ourselves, practice next week on the little things and we’ll be ready.”