>Madras pitcher didn't know until long after opening game done
It wasn't until after the game was over that Marisa Hulsey learned what she'd done at Hood River on Tuesday, March 11.
   "You realize you pitched a no-hitter?" her mom asked the Madras junior pitcher.
   No, Hulsey didn't know the White Buffalo's 7-0 season-opening victory was also a no-hitter. Hulsey struck out four with the only base runner being in the first on an error. A popup to Hulsey on a bunt attempt by the next hitter turned into a double play.
   Madras also pounded La Pine 15-1 in its home debut on Wednesday. The Buffs are back in action with a noon Saturday doubleheader at Henley. The next home game isn't until the Intermountain Conference opener on April 1.
   At Hood River, Hulsey didn't go in with lofty expectations against a 6A squad seeking to replace five starters from a 2007 team which finished an extra-inning loss from the state playoffs.
   "I kind of knew what was going on during the game, but I didn't let it get to me," Hulsey said later in the week. "I wasn't really expecting anything like that in the opening game. I just wanted to go out and have fun."
   She did compared to a year ago when Hood River took a 9-1 decision on the Buffs' home field in the season opener for both teams.
   Hulsey said both her dropball and changeups were working well.
   "I worked on everything this summer, especially my dropball," said Hulsey who missed part of last season due to a hip injury.
   The changeup was Hulsey's most effective pitch, said senior catcher Danny Palmer.
   "We worked a lot inside. They were crowding the plate, so we kept working them inside," said Palmer who had three hits. "It was an easy game to call. I didn't think about it being a no-hitter either."
   Two key defensive plays helped preserve the no-hitter.
   In the fourth, left fielder Rachel Aimone made a running catch to her left.
   "That was a hard shot; I didn't know if Rachel would get to it," Hulsey said. "Everyone thought it was in the hole. It was either going to be a catch or a triple."
   In the sixth, shortstop Sarah Leutwiler backhanded up a hard shot and threw out an Eagle runner.
   "Sarah made the play just like a good shortstop should," Hulsey said.
   "Marisa is more of a contact pitcher than a strikeout pitcher," Madras coach Shawna McConnell said. "She needs her defense to make plays and they did in that game."
   Madras led 4-0 after the fourth inning. The Buffs pounded out 10 hits, led by Kara Katchia with two doubles among her four hits while driving in three runs. Leutwiler also drove in a run while freshman Lauren Short added a hit.
   Madras 15, La Pine 1: An 11-run second inning decided the home opener.
   Both Hulsey and Aimone drove in two runs each. Aimone drilled a two-run double to go along with two stolen bases. Holly Martin and Palmer added run-scoring doubles. Martin also stole two bases.
   Aimone earned the win, striking out 11 while allowing two hits and four walks in five innings.
   "Rachel has good speed on her pitches and she's really grown a lot as a pitcher since last year," McConnell said.
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