Rarely does an incredible athletic feat happen in sports that we don’t have a name for, but here we are. In the world of baseball and softball, we have the “perfect game,” where a pitcher doesn’t allow a single base runner. Allow me to introduce to you a phrase that I believe should catch on — the immaculate game.
That’s right, just like the immaculate inning, where a batter strikes out the side on nine straight strikes, the immaculate game is a heroic accomplishment, striking out every batter you face in the game. Three up, three down, all on strikeouts, every inning, for the entire game.
There’s probably no name for it because it seems beyond the realm of possibilities.
Hope Trautwein, softball pitcher for University of North Texas, became the first softball player in NCAA Division I history to strike out every batter over seven innings en route to a perfect game. An immaculate game.
“I guess it’s never been done before so it doesn’t have a name,” Trautwein told NPR’s Morning Edition.
That was a great performance by Hope,” head coach Rodney DeLong said, via the Mean Green school site. “Any time she gets the ball, she never surprises us with the success she has. She’s the hardest worker on our team, she brings it every day and she deserves all the credit and all the success in the world.”
In February 2020 she struck out 21, walked two, and gave up one hit over eight innings in a 3-0 win over A&M Corpus Christi. In her first start of the 2021 season on Feb. 13, she struck out 21, but allowed five hits and two runs in the 6-2 win against Southeastern Louisiana.
In other words, Trautwein’s efficiency is machine-like.
Add this to the laundry list of examples of women’s sports not receiving the amount of hype or coverage they deserve, considering it’s Thursday morning and I’m just now hearing about this ridiculously impressive accomplishment that took place five days ago. Just last night, Chicago White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon was flirting with a perfect game in the ninth inning, and the sports world took a collective, anticipatory pause to watch and see if he would complete the accomplishment. With a shoelace hit-by-pitch, Rodon ended the night with a no-hitter instead. If it were a D1 baseball pitcher, think Jack Leiter, I’m inclined to think the masses would have done the same. For Trautwein, however, there was little to no fanfare for the herculean effort.
Trautwein’s immaculate game should be an achievement that is etched in the minds of sports fans for years to come, but it won’t be, because it’s “just softball.”