By Nolan Ruth
The Community News
History has again been made in Aledo sports. With the baseball and softball seasons in full swing, the Bearcats and Ladycats went into Saturday with big matchups on the docket. With both teams at home, a significant portion of the town was on hand to witness both teams complete no-hitters on the same day.
It is rare enough in each game to throw or even witness a no-hitter, but Ethan Jaques and Kayleigh Smith shined in their performances and accomplished the rare feat in spectacular fashion.
The day started with the Bearcats taking on South Grand Prairie in the Drew Medford Memorial Tournament. With the two games played on the Thursday prior, it was Jaques’s turn to pitch. After walking the first batter of the game, Jaques retired the next 11 South Grand Prairie batters. In the top of the fourth inning, he inadvertently hit a batter but retired the next eight batters with no damage done.
Jaques got in a bit of trouble in the final inning when his fatigue started to show. After getting the first out, he hit the second batter to get a runner on. The next batter flew out, but the following two both walked to load the bases. With the game scoreless, Jaques was in danger of giving up the go-ahead run without even allowing a hit.
“I went out and talked to him,” head coach Chad Barry said. “I asked if he was alright because I had someone ready to go, and he just said ‘Don’t take me out of this game. Let me finish this game.’ He had earned it, and he went out and finished the inning. I’m extremely happy for him.”
Thankfully for the Bearcats, the final batter popped up to shallow center and Cade Pulido made the play to finish the seventh inning. However, the Bearcats still needed a run, and Barry knew it.
“When they came off the field, I told them ‘Fellas, he’s pitched seven innings of no-hit baseball. Get him a run and don’t take this away from him. This is a special moment for him.’ Then they did it.”
With one out and the bases loaded, Ryan Jones lightly hit a ball up the third base line that appeared to be bending foul, but the third baseman made contact and bobbled the ball, allowing Max Belyeu to score and make the no-hitter official.
“The defense was amazing behind me,” Jaques said after throwing his first no-hitter. “It felt amazing. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It was a good team win.”
Jaques’s final stat line: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 Ks
While the Bearcats returned to the field to play the second game of their double header, the Ladycats took the field for their district opener against Brewer. For the Ladycats, no-hitters have not been rare this season. In fact, four different pitchers have thrown six no-hitters this season. Smith threw one to open the season against Decatur.
That being the case, it was only fitting that she threw another one for the district opener against arch-rival Brewer.
The game was a defensive battle from the start as both teams were perfect through the first three innings. Aledo broke up Brewer’s bid with a base hit in the fourth, and then scored three runs in the fifth, while Smith remained perfect into the sixth inning.
“Perfect games are what I get really excited about,” Smith said. “Those are really rare because nobody can make an error; you can’t walk anybody, either.”
A controversial call in the fifth inning took away the perfect game bid with two outs in the sixth inning, just four outs from a perfect game. However, she retired the next batter to end the inning and needed only four pitches to end the game in the seventh without allowing a hit.
“I thought it was really cool that my last district opener got to be a no-hitter,” Smith said after the game. “I’m just glad we won, though.”
Head coach Heather Myers knows how special a pitching staff she has and was not shy about it after Smith threw her second of the season, and sixth for the team this season.
“She just came off of concussion protocol,” Myers said about her ace-pitcher. “I knew that she was itching to get back on the field so when she was cleared, there was no way I wasn’t going to give her the ball. It just goes to show the bulldog mentality she has and her leadership that she’s shown for three years before this. It’s really impressive.”
Smith’s final stat line: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 Ks