JERSEY SHORE - Put a brick wall in Kristi Weaver's way, and the Milton standout pitcher would have tore through it.
Put a concentrate barrier by Linea Brouse, and the Panther center fielder could have cleared it easily.
To put it bluntly, nothing was stopping Milton yesterday.
"Nothing was," Brouse said. "We were going to win this game, no matter what happened."
Doesn't hurt when Weaver is on your side.
The pitcher took a perfect game into the eighth inning, and threw a nine-inning one-hitter with six strikeouts, while Bayli Derr's sacrifice fly in the ninth was the difference-maker in a 1-0 victory over Jersey Shore in Heartland Conference action.
Just another chapter in the long, storied history between the two District IV Class AAA rivals. And don't be surprised to see another rematch in the district final, either.
"We are both really good teams, and this is always a really good matchup," Weaver said.
It's no shock, really.
This one has been festering inside the Lady Panthers' stomach for nearly one month now.
Ever since an April 3 loss where Shore scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
"We thought that we should have beat them the last time we played them at our place, but we just quit hitting after the fourth inning," Milton manager Bill Keefer said. "We have three freshmen and three sophomores in the lineup, and I thought that we had a few of those girls grow up today."
Weaver, though, was the story.
She was dominating in the circle.
"I knew that I had the no-hitter going, but I just put it into the back of my head because I didn't want to mess it up," she said. "I am really happy with the way I threw. I felt that I was on, and the defense was error-free behind me."
Shore couldn't get a bunt to drop. Struggled to even get a slap hit down. In fact, in the first seven innings, nine outs came on one pitch or less from Weaver. A total of 12 one-pitch-or-less outs were record in nine innings.
"Kristi did a great job of controlling this game for us," Brouse said.
She carried the perfect game into the eighth before Arika Stopper poked a grounder just out of the reach of the second baseman. Courtesy runner Paige Packer was later sacrificed to second by Holly Peacock, but Milton turned a textbook 6-3-5 double play to erase the Lady Bulldogs' lone threat.
"It's a long time coming for her," Shore manager Chris Glenn said of Weaver. "She has come up short against Jersey Shore on a number of occasions. It's been some real heart breaks for her with last-inning plays where we score and win. She pitched the game of her life. I thought she kept us off-balance and we just couldn't get bunts down. We couldn't do much with her pitches. We have some good sticks. We can hit. It's just one of those games where she was on and came out the winner. I take my hat off to her."
Despite all of that, Shore (9-2) hung around.
Milton stranded runners in scoring position in the first, second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
In fact, one runner was gunned down at home as Justine Marks tried to score all the way from first on a Brouse single to deep right field. But the relay throw from the right fielder to Peacock was spot on, and the Shore third baseman flicked the ball home to catcher Rebecca Caputo in plenty of time.
"We teach them to be aggressive on the bases," Keefer said. "It happens with kids, and I'll accept that as long as they stay aggressive. I can live with the results."
The Lady 'Dawgs appeared to dodge a big-time bullet in the top of the ninth.
Brouse absolutely demolished a Stopper pitch to the gap in left-center, a ball that rolled all the way to the fence, for an inning-opening triple. But a heads-up play by shortstop Hannah Yost on Bethany Brennan's grounder caught Brouse off base, erasing the threat.
"We always encourage each other no matter what happens," Brouse said. "No one ever gets on someone else. We always look at the sunny side of every situation. We are always trying to lift each other up. Each time, we were getting closer. We had the runners on base, but just couldn't get that clutch hit. Finally, it just built up to that last inning. No matter what, you just had that feeling that we were going to get it."
Two batters later, Milton (9-1) did.
An error on a grounder by Taylor Batman put two on, and each runner advanced one base on a wild pitch. That's when Derr lifted a 1-1 pitch to right field, allowing Brennan plenty of time to jog home.
"It was a big feeling to get that first out in the ninth, and a big turn-around for the girls," Glenn said. "We were looking for momentum, and that was big. But we had some misplays on balls right after that, and that girl hit one deep enough to score the run. I take my hat off to them. They got that run across the plate, and that's the name of the game."
Stopper was the hard-luck losing pitcher of record, tossing a nine-inning seven-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk.
"Arika threw well. I think she got tired toward the end," Glenn said. "She threw seven innings (Monday) against Williamsport, and another nine more today. A couple pitches maybe didn't hit the spots exactly where they should have, and that was the outcome. I can't ask for anything more out of her. There were some pressure situations that she just thrives in. I think she did her best. She didn't hold anything back."
MILTON 1, JERSEY SHORE 0, 9 innings
M000 000 001 - 1 6 0
J000 000 000 - 0 1 4
M: Kristi Weaver and MacKenna Miller. JS: Arika Stopper and Rebecca Caputo. WP - Weaver. LP - Stopper. 3B: M, Linea Brouse. MH: M, Brouse 2, Bayli Derr 2. Records: JS 9-2, M 9-1.