LEHI — Through social media, the remarkable news didn’t take long to spread through the community of Lehi. Last Saturday, within hours of each other, Lehi’s softball and baseball team both recorded no-hitters.
“After the game we were looking at our phones and someone said someone on the softball team just threw a no-hitter as well,” said Hayden Jacobson, Lehi’s senior ace who blanked Salem Hills 3-0 in the region baseball game.
A few hours earlier, junior Lexi Butterfield did the same thing to Orem in the 10-0 softball victory.
No-hitters are rare enough by themselves, but the odds of two on the same day to the same school seems extremely unlikely.
Butterfield and Jacobson each sent congratulatory texts to each other Saturday night, sharing a unique experience with a classmate who knew the exact joy the other was feeling.
Neither game was originally scheduled for Saturday either, but were make-up games from a brutal week of rainouts. Lehi’s softball game was only confirmed about 14 hours before the first pitch, whereas the Lehi-Salem Hills baseball game moved to Springville just to make sure they got the game in.
“It was just one of those games you just kind of had that vibe, you usually don’t play on Saturdays. It worked out pretty well. It was a good day for our program,” said Lehi softball coach Tim Kennedy.
For baseball, the win help Lehi moved into second place in the Region 10 standings while the softball team sits in a first-place tie in the Region 10 standings.
The softball team started first on Saturday, about 90 minutes before baseball’s first pitch.
Butterfield was in control from the beginning, striking out five and only walking one in the 10-0 victory in five innings over Orem.
“It was an amazing experience with my team. My team has been there for me every step of the way, I definitely wouldn’t have done that without my team. It was a really big win for us and boosts our confidence a lot,” said Butterfield, who's been a three-year starter for Lehi.
Butterfield was so dialed in mentally with each batter on Saturday, she wasn’t even aware she had a no-hitter going. It wasn’t until she saw her dad’s uncharacteristically joyful celebration for a blowout win that she realized something might be up.
When Butterfield’s dad informed her after the postgame handshakes of the accomplishment, she was elated. She couldn’t believe it, asking her dad, “you’re kidding, right?”
It was no joke. The win was her seventh of the season, but it wasn’t without some close calls. In the third inning shortstop Avery Takahashi leapt and snared a line drive. Butterfield made a great defensive play of her own to preserve the no-hitter.
An Orem batter ripped a line drive straight back at Butterfield, whose glove got knocked off trying to make a play on the ball.
“Her glove and ball were sitting behind the rubber and she composed herself enough to pick it up and still make the out. We were laughing about that with her during the game,” said Kennedy.
Jacobson had the benefit of some key defensive plays as well in no-hitting Salem Hills, which came one start after he threw a one-hitter against Mountain View.
The biggest defensive play of the game occurred with the leadoff batter in the seventh inning. He hit a slow chopper to third base, but third baseman McKay Wall charged the ball, scooping it up barehand and then firing a perfect strike to beat the runner at first base.
Jacobson forced a grounder for the second out and then struck out the final batter — his 10th of the game — for the no-hitter.
He could sense the excitement building with each out, even though he knew no one wanted to jinx it by talking about it.
“Once I knew it was the seventh inning and I was pitching really good and they hadn’t got a hit yet, I just tried to relax and keep pitching how I was,” said Jacobson. “We knew going into Salem they’re a great hitting team and they have been all year, so we knew we needed to hit our spots and do our job. I found out the hitters' weaknesses the first game and I just kind of threw around them.”
With the win Jacobson improved to 7-0 on the mound this season for the Pioneers.3 comments on this story
“If he can get his offspeed over he’s hard to beat. It wasn’t like he was throwing super hard, he topped out at 84, but his command was there and our defense was there. They’re a really good hitting team and he was able to keep them off balance,” said Lehi coach Jason Ingersoll.
Lehi’s coach praised his defense for making the routine plays but also some superb plays to rob Salem Hills of base hits.
Jacobson took care of the last out himself, putting the finishing touches on a remarkable day at the diamond for Lehi athletics.