A Fruitvale teen set a record last week, one that in all likelihood may never be broken.
Ella Matteucci is known for her many accomplishments as a hockey blue-liner, but the prodigiously talented 17-year-old can also throw a wicked curve. Last week she put an exclamation point on an incredible year by pitching a no-hitter.
Once the hockey season ended and Matteucci relaxed from winning a national championship with the Notre Dame Hounds, she raised a few critical eyebrows when she tried out for the Hounds baseball team.
For in addition to playing for the senior girls fastball team, the athletic phenom also tried out for the Senior Boys Varsity baseball team with full intentions of cracking the line up as a starting pitcher.
She made the team, but was used only in a relief role until last week when she made her first start against the Regina White Sox of the Saskatchewan Midget ‘AA’ Baseball league.
It turned out to be a great decision for coach Rob Krueger.
“She was only supposed to pitch three or four innings,” said Krueger.
But the Notre Dame coach noticed immediately that she was throwing a bit harder than usual and owning the strike zone.
In the second inning, Notre Dame right fielder Cory Anderson made a sensational diving catch to preserve the no-no.
Matteucci then bore down and fanned11 batters, striking out the side in both the fourth and seventh innings and giving up no walks.
Her catcher, Grayden Benner from Halfmoon Bay, B.C., called a great game, mixing fast balls, change-ups and curves to keep the hitters off balance.
“After the second inning, I mentioned to the catcher that we could have something going here,” said Krueger.
“We held the tradition of not talking about it, although I had to educate some of the players about that tradition.”
The strategy worked.
The B.C. tandem worked a great game and would have been perfect if not for four fielding errors.
Matteucci went the distance, hurling seven-innings of no-hit ball in the 12-0 victory.
What’s really amazing is that the Hound hurler threw 90 pitches in the game and 70 of those were strikes, said Krueger.
An extremely rare feat for anyone, in any league, but for a young woman to register it in a boys ‘AA’ baseball league is unprecedented.
Matteucci is a multi-sport athlete that competes in soccer, hockey, softball and baseball at the Wilcox, Saskatchewan school. She will be attending Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, on a scholarship in the fall.