Top McKinney Sports Stories 2012 - (No. 4) Closing on a High Note: Thomas throws no hitter, belts grand slam in final cross-town showdown
(Editor's Note: In the midst of a heated rivalry game, McKinney softball pitcher Chelsea Thomas completed a remarkable feat of athletic accomplishment against McKinney North, pitching a no-hitter to accompany her third inning grand slam. The original article appeared on April 10.)
McKinney sophomore pitcher Chelsea Thomas made two of softball's most elusive feats look commonplace on Tuesday. In her most dominant performance of the season, she threw a no-hitter and hit a grand slam in a 5-0 win over McKinney North.
Thomas was a force to be reckoned with in the circle, where she struck out 15 total, and at the plate, where she broke up a scoreless tie in the top of the third by sending the first pitch screaming over the center-field wall. Her grand slam scored junior Courtney Derrick, senior Alyssa Fontillas and sophomore Courtney Gilstrap.
Pitchers have been treating Thomas with care throughout the season, and with the way she punished one mistake from North, it's easy to see why.
There were no such missteps on her end.
Thomas continued to post zeros and the Lionettes picked up another run in the fifth on an RBI single from sophomore Jazsmin Nelson to cruise to a district sweep of the Lady Bulldogs, who they defeated 2-1 in the first round.
Tuesday's meeting was the last district contest McKinney and North will play for at least two years, as the teams were sent their separate ways in the UIL's recent biennial realignment. McKinney will be rising in classification to 5A, where it will be paired with Plano, Plano East, Plano West, Allen and McKinney Boyd in District 10-5A.
North will remain a 4A program.
With its recent cross-town win as a catalyst, McKinney (16-14, 8-4 as in District 10-4A) continued its winning ways and sealed a playoff spot on Friday with a 13-0 victory over Richardson Pearce. The Lionettes can expect to pad their record a little more before the playoffs begin, as they close district against Wylie East and Highland Park, two of the bottom three teams in the 10-4A standings.
They trail North by one game.
After defeating Highland Park on Friday, 15-0, the Lady Bulldogs will close district on a more challenging note by facing Rockwall and Wylie, the top teams in the standings, in succession. North lost to Rockwall, 3-1, and beat Wylie, 11-8, in the first round
Frisco Wakeland will likely face the fourth-place team from 10-4A in the first round of the playoffs, and the chance to dodge that matchup provides a strong incentive for McKinney to finish the regular season with a pair of wins. But should they draw the Lady Wolverines, the Lionettes can still feel confident knowing they already beat them once: 8-7 at the Southlake Carroll Tournament.