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Rams get no-hit, lose in sectional final

BROOKFIELD — With temperatures hovering in the 80s under a cloudless sky, Brookfield pitcher Miranda Nicholson was asked about her thoughts after throwing a no-hitter in the Warriors’ 10-0 Division IV Sectional Final win over the Mineral Ridge Rams.

A hit batter and an error were the only things that kept her from a perfect game.

She was that dominant.

“It was pretty close to it,” Nicholson said. “I think it was just hot and I wanted to get out. I’m excited. I’m happy for it and I’m happy for everybody else. We all tried really hard for this game. We were all excited about it.”

It was Nicholson’s first no-hitter since last year.

Brookfield coach David DeJoy felt Nicholson has her favorite pitches.

The Warriors have a method of communicating between pitchers, catchers, and coaches.

“We don’t rely on one pitch necessarily,” DeJoy said. “I ask them after every warm up ‘What’s working for you today?’ If she feels like she has good control with her fastball, we’ll build around it. If she feels like her off-speed, her change-up, or whatever else she throws is working then we’ll build around that and ebbs and flows to the game.

“You don’t know what the umpires are gonna like that day. You don’t know what his strike zone is gonna be so you got to work within those confines as well. I know I’m really proud of Miranda and Katie Gibson. They work well together. Miranda was on top of her game today. There’s no doubt about it.”

DeJoy felt that the relationship between Nicholson and Gibson was instrumental in Nicholson getting her second career no-hitter.

“It’s a collaboration,” DeJoy said. “Gibby puts input and Miranda puts in input. Everybody sees things a little differently. So we just trust one another and sometimes I hand it off, sometimes I hand it back, sometimes she knows what she wants. So we just work together to try to do what’s best for the team.”

Nicholson felt DeJoy was very good at helping to call the pitches when needed to stymie the Rams.

Her teammates made it much easier, scoring seven runs in the opening inning knocking Mineral Ridge pitcher Madison Ylonen out of the game after 24 pitches.

Cadence Huffman and Arianna Jones led the way for the Warriors with three RBIs each.

Sophia Hook added two RBIs.

“I have a terrific group of young ladies and coaches,” DeJoy said. “They’re highly motivated. They know the season is kind of up and down with the weather and now that the sun’s shining and we can get some consistency, that’s what we’re trying to do. Weather is consistent, we want to be consistent. We just want to grow and try to be playing our best softball as we hopefully advance throughout this tournament.”

Everyone in the Warriors’ lineup got a hit except for Huffman who still knocked in three RBIs.

“We want everybody to contribute,” DeJoy said. “I mean it doesn’t always happen that way but even Cadence contributed. She put the bat on the ball and did a real nice job for us today. Defensively, overall, I thought we played solid and backed Miranda and Gibby up. That’s what we want to try to do. We want to have everybody contributing in some form or fashion as we go down through the lineup.”

If there was any drama Wednesday evening, it came in the top of the fourth.

Nicholson struck out Chelsea Christy. She then hit Cheyenne Ferguson with a pitch and after retiring Aaiyah Wall, Ylonen reached on an error by third baseman Hook. She was able to strike out Megan Gerberry to end the threat.

The Warriors scored two in the bottom half of the inning on Jones’ single, which scored Hook and Reichart to make it 10-0.

Nicholson finished her 72-pitch outing with another 1-2-3 inning as the Warriors advanced to face the Chalker Wildcats on Monday.

“We want to be playing our best softball and get better each time out and just see what we can do this year,” DeJoy said.

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