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DCC’s Kulbatsky Comes One Strike from Perfect, Throws No-Hitter as Lady Cards top St. Marys in Battle of D9 Royalty powered by N. Washington Rodeo

Rylee Kulbatsky came a strike from throwing a perfect game while no-hitting St. Marys Wednesday afternoon

DUBOIS, Pa. – Only a walk on a 3-2 pitch to the 21st batter she faced kept Rylee Kulbatsky from being perfect in 3-0 DuBois Central Catholic win over St. Marys in a matchup of the two best teams in District 9 softball Wednesday afternoon at DCC High School.

Also see: May 15 D9 softball recapsMay 15 D9 baseball recaps 

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Kulbatsky, who struck out 18 while tossing a no-hitter, went 3-2 on Kaylen Eozzo with two outs in the top of the seventh before losing Eozzo to the free pass.

She bounced right back to strike out Gianna Surra to preserve the no-hitter, the first seven-inning no-hitter of her high school career.

“I did (know I had a perfect game going,” Kulbatsky said. “I think that is what was making me a little nervous there. I think that is why I walked her.”

Amazingly, the three-ball count on Eozzo was just the third time in the contest Kulbatsky even had three balls on a batter. She was behind 3-2 on Jianna Gerg in the third and 3-1 to Surra in the fifth but rallied to strikeout each batter.

In fact, Kulbatsky struck out the first 14 St. Marys’ hitters she faced before Avery Eckels ended that streak by flying out to right field to end the fifth inning.

The Lady Dutch (14-2), who came into the game hitting .405 as a team while averaging 10.5 runs per game, managed to put just three balls in play off Kulbatsky with Addison Beimel and Molly Hansolvan each popping out to shortstop Kayley Risser in the seventh.

“No (I didn’t realize that),” Kulbatsky said when asked if she knew she had struck out 14 in a row to start the contest. “I take it one pitch at a time and go.”

According to Kulbatsky, it was her spin pitches that were really working well for her.

“My rise ball was working well,” Kulbatsky said. “It always works well. All my spin pitches were just really working, and I threw them when I needed to.”

Kulbatsky had to be great because Eckels was nearly matching her pitch-for-pitch.

The St. Marys junior allowed just two bases runners through five innings, but, unfortunately, for her, one of those scored.

Melia Mitskavich led off the second inning with a triple to right before Lydia Morgan brought her home with a sacrifice fly.

“Yes, it was nice (knowing I had the lead),” Kulbatsky said.

After the Mitskavich triple,, Eckels retired nine in a row before Morgan led off the fifth with an infield single, but she was stranded there.

DCC, though, got to Eckels in the sixth scoring two insurance runs.

Marina Hanes led off with a bunt single before Virginia Myers pinch ran for her.

Lauren Davidson moved Myers to second, and Myers went to third when Jessy Frank singled to center with Frank going to second on the throw home.

Risser then delivered a two-run single to center to make it 3-0.

“It was good,” Kulbatsky said of the three-run cushion. “It gave me a sense of comfort.

DCC now awaits it playoff matchup. The Lady Cardinals are the presumptive No. 1 seed in District 9 Class 1A looking for a fifth straight tile.

“We hit constantly,” Kulbatsky said about the 17-2 regular season. “We field when we need to. We just do everything right. That’s what we were expecting.”

St. Marys should be the top seed in the D9 Class 4A playoffs with the Lady Dutch looking to defend their crown from last year.

Playoff pairings will be released on Thursday, May 16, on the PIAA Committee site and then on the YDL Sports Network.

NOTES: Kulbatsky now has 175 strikeouts on the season in 84 innings of work, an average of 2.08 per inning. She lowered her earned run average to 0.58 from the 0.64 it started the day at … Both of St. Marys’ losses have come to teams from DuBois, as DuBois Area beat the Lady Dutch 5-4 on April 29 … The game took one hour and 25 minutes.


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