BILL LUSK | WVOW SPORTS
MAN Man High School junior pitcher Morgan Cooper struck out all 15 batters she faced on the way to tossing her third perfect game of the season in Man’s 10-0 five-inning mercy-rule victory over Westside Tuesday night at the Man Softball Complex.
Cooper threw a pair of perfect games last season at River View on April 28, 2021, and then again at home against Tolsia on May 21. Both games were called after four innings that saw Cooper strike out 11 of 12 batters she faced in both games.
Thirteen of the 15 strikeouts recorded by Cooper were of the swinging variety.
Man plated three runs in the first inning, six more in the third and one in the fourth inning.
Olivia Ramsey went 3-for-3 with three runs batted in for Man at the plate. The Lady Hillbillies also got a pair of hits from Jacklyn Barnett, Cooper, and Kiersten Ellis, and one hit each from McKinley Cline and Trista Marcum.
“She (Olivia) will hit, she starts off slow every year like that, and she started off slow like that last year,” Man coach Randy Epperly said. “We need her hitting in the middle of the lineup. We can’t depend on the two, three, four, somewhere through there but I am not disappointed in the hitting it will come around.”
Man got RBIs from Cline, Kalilla Collins, Ellis, Kaylee Hicks, Marcum, Baylee Muncy and Ashlee Tomblin.
Man pounded out 11 hits in the victory but had just three hits through two innings against Westside starter Kaylee Reed.
Reed recorded five of her six strikeouts in the first two innings before Man made the adjustments at the plate to plate seven runs on eight hits in the final two innings.
“We struggle in games like this, and we finished better than we started, and it’s a mental thing with us sometimes,” Epperly said. “With slower pitching it takes you one through the lineup to see that and you got to get them calmed down.”
“They are used to facing 58 or 59 mile per hour pitchers, and when you go down to somebody probably pitching in the 40’s they have trouble adjusting,” Epperly said. “We finished the game better than we started and I am talking mentally we finished stronger.”
Reed suffered the loss for Westside after allowing 10 runs on 11 hits while walking one and striking out six.
“Her (Reed) is probably in the 40’s but she has a nice little drop ball and a little bit of off speed,” Westside coach Darren Blankenship said. "We are struggling this year, don’t have the pitching that we usually have, and we got a lot of inexperienced players and had a low turnout this year.”
Westside 0 0 0 0 0- 0 0 0
Man 3 0 6 1 x- 10 11 0
Reed and Toler. Cooper and Barnett. Top hitters- M: Ramsey 3-3, 3 RBIs; Barnett 2-2; Ellis 2-3, RBI; Cooper 2-3, double.