The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
There’s nothing like a perfecto to bust a pitcher out of a slump.
In her first start since Feb. 24, College of San Mateo sophomore right-hander Morgan Jones retired all 15 batters she faced in Saturday’s 9-0 mercy-rule softball win over Yuba College to record a perfect game in the first game of a doubleheader.
CSM — the No. 1 ranked team in the state — won the doubleheader nightcap 22-1, outscoring Yuba by a total of 33-1 in the two games. Yet the buzz surrounding Bulldog Stadium was the perfect outing by Jones, who produced her first no-hitter since little league.
“She was lights out,” CSM head coach Nicole Borg said. “She did a great job.”
Jones had all her pitches working from the get-go, a departure from her struggles in recent weeks. After serving as College of San Mateo softball’s primary starting pitcher last season, the sophomore had made just eight starts through CSM’s 22 games prior to Saturday.
“It’s just a little pitching slump,” Borg said, “and she’s been working extra hard at practice. … Her first few outings were little tough. Sometimes that happens.”
There was no trace of a slump Saturday as Jones matched her longest outing of the year. She previously threw a two-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Gavilan Feb. 4. In the perfecto, she started the day with a strikeout of Yuba’s leadoff hitter and never looked back. She totaled three strikeouts and induced nine groundball outs.
“I’m definitely a groundball pitcher,” Jones said. “My team defense behind me was a big part of that game.”
Sophomore shortstop Meagan Wells recorded the final out, fielding a groundball smoothly and firing to first baseman Jordan Davis to end it. Borg said all of CSM’s defensive plays were fairly routine. Jones said there was a nice play in the fourth inning by Wells ranging into the hole at shortstop to get in front of a sharp grounder and make a long throw across the diamond.
All in all, it looked like the Jones of old, a pitcher who last year ranked ninth in the state with a 1.67 ERA after leading in the category for most of the season.
“Definitely I’m starting to feel like my old self again,” Jones said.
There has been a bit of a transition for Jones this season with freshman catcher Mackenzie Driscoll taking over behind the plate. Jones said there was no correlation between her recent slump and Driscoll’s catching prowess, but that she does miss last year’s catcher, Harlee Donovan, as both were Half Moon Bay High School graduates and played together since they were 5.
With Donovan having transferred to Southern Oregon University, Jones said the two are slated to play together again next year as the sophomore pitcher has already committed to transferring to the program in Ashland, Oregon as well.