Nokomis High School of Newport sophomore righthander Mia Coots had never thrown a no-hitter entering Tuesday’s Class B North game against host Hermon.
She not only threw a no-hitter against the Hawks, it was also a perfect game with 20 strikeouts as Nokomis avenged its only loss with a 1-0 win.
Hermon had beaten Nokomis 1-0 on May 10 in Newport.
Freshman Molly Simcox’s pop-up to first with one out in the seventh inning was the only out that wasn’t a strikeout.
Coots struck out the first 19 hitters she faced and, following the pop-up, she struck out her 20th hitter on three pitches.
She threw 97 pitches, of which 73 were strikes. She went to a three-ball count on only one hitter and wound up striking her out.
Nokomis improved to 11-1 and Hermon fell to 6-6.
“This has been a dream for me ever since I started pitching,” said the 5-foot-3 Coots, who didn’t start pitching until November 2018. “The fact it’s real is insane. This is the most surreal thing I have ever felt. That final pitch … it was just immediate tears.”
Coots began thinking about the perfect game in the fifth inning, she said.
“I knew if I put pressure on myself, it was never going to happen,” said the 16-year-old. “So I stayed loose and kept throwing what I could throw and it happened!”
Coots said giving up the pop-up and not striking out all 21 hitters didn’t bother her.
“A win is a win, a perfect game is a perfect game. I can’t be mad at a pop-up,” she said. “As a defense, it’s hard to stay focused when there is that many strikeouts. I was so happy it was caught.”
Coots threw mostly riseballs and curves.
“I was able to change locations and keep them guessing. I kept them on their toes. I found their weak spots. That’s my strength,” Coots said.
Nokomis coach J.D. McLellan said it was the most strikeouts he has witnessed in his 16 years at Nokomis.
“Her ball definitely has movement and high velocity, too,” said Hermon freshman pitcher Katie Fowler, who tossed a two-hitter with six strikeouts and one walk.
Pivotal play: Junior second baseman Hope Brooks delivered the game’s only run with a clutch, two-out line drive single to right in the fourth inning. That chased home Cam King from third.
King had poked a leadoff single to right, was sacrificed to second by Jordyn Condon and moved to third on Megan Watson’s flyout.
Hermon was able to stay within one when second baseman Simcox made a nice leaping catch on Condon’s line drive with a runner on second in the sixth and right fielder Norra Idano followed that with a terrific shoestring catch on Watson’s sinking liner to retire the side.
Big takeaway: Coots makes Nokomis a favorite in every game the Warriors play. The Warriors have now given up three runs in their last seven games. Hermon showed it is capable of playing exceptional defense and freshman Fowler pitches with a lot of poise and is always around the plate.
What’s up next: Hermon will try to snap a three-game losing streak at Mount Desert Island on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. while Nokomis will entertain Cony of Augusta on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.