Melea Bruns tossed a no-hitter in a shortened game, and the Rogers softball team cruised by Princeton 11-0 on Monday.
“When I was warming up to pitch before the game, I felt good as the game was about to start,” Bruns said.
Bruns started the game with a strikeout, a fly out to left field and a groundout to Elli Anderson at second base. The next inning, the 4 through 6 hitters for the Tigers all made contact, but the Royals defense was right there, as Anderson, Maddie Thiebault and Katelyn Kemmetmueller all made plays. A fly out to Kaitlynn Lloyd started the bottom of the third inning, with Bruns getting strikeout No. 2 and 3 to end the inning.
On the offensive side, Bruns added her own insurance run as she scored in the top of the first inning to put the Royals on top. Leadoff batter Olivia Olson scored in the top of the third, and Krysta Felber and Alexis Fehr took advantage of two of the four errors by the Tigers, scoring in the top of the fourth to put Rogers up 4-0 as Bruns went out to the mound with a perfect game still intact.
“Our defense played really well all game,” coach Chris Donnay said. “We did run ourselves out of big innings early in the game, but everything finally came together in the fifth.”
Anderson and Felber had groundballs hit to them in the bottom of the fourth that they fielded cleanly, and Bruns added another strikeout. Everyone expected a seven-inning game as Lloyd led off the top of the fifth inning, but the Royals had other plans.
Lloyd, Anderson, Felber and Fehr all singled to begin the inning as the top of the order came up to bat. Olson added a walk to keep the bases loaded as Bruns stepped to the plate.
“I just walked up to the plate and told myself to relax,” Bruns said. “Take a deep breath and just hit the ball.”
The ball cleared the fence, bringing in the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th runs for the Royals. Kemmetmueller added run No. 11 later in the inning.
Bruns headed to the mound just three outs away from a perfect game with the mercy rule now active. The leadoff batter lined out to Thiebault, while Bruns struck out the second batter of the inning. Bruns hit the next batter, so while the perfect game was now gone, Bruns still had a chance at the no-hitter.
No. 7 batter, Kailey Wente, was the last hope for the Tigers. She made contact with the ball but Anderson was right there, ending the game, and completing the rare no-hitter.
“I didn’t even realize I had a no-hitter until someone congratulated me,” Bruns said. “I was just trying to pitch my best.”
Rogers (11-1) will turn around and welcome Chisago Lakes (6-6) to its home field on May 3. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.