It was business as usual yesterday for North County's Karen Hay.
The junior windmiller struck out 11 and hurled the 14th no-hitter of her still young career, as she led the Knights to a 3-0 victory over visiting Severna Park.
"I didn't know it was a no-hitter until the game ended," said Hay, whose only loss of late has been to a battle with the common cold. "Nobody told me until I came in from the field."
While Hay's feat went unnoticed by her, it certainly drew the attention of Severna Park coach Paul Yannuzzi.
"You have to give the credit today to KarenHay," said Yannuzzi. "She never threw the ball in the same spot morethan once, and that makes a world of difference.
"She moved the ball around real well. She doesn't have the best velocity of the pitchers in the county, but she really had great location today. She had everybody off-balance."
The Knights, who sit atop the Friendship Division with a 12-5 record overall and 9-2 mark against county 4A opponents, got all the runs they needed in the fourth inning, which started with a brief scare.
Hay walked the Falcons' leadoff batter, Shani Cannon, in the top of the fourth inning and was put to the test when Cannon was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lanna Braman.
Hay worked herself out of trouble, however, by striking out the nexttwo batters to end the inning and leaving Cannon stranded at second.
Tonya Kolodziejski started things off for the Knights in the bottom half of the inning when she drilled a single to right.
Chris Barton followed with a potential double-play grounder to third baseman Christine Winters, but Winters' throw to second caromed off second baseman Wendy Snyder's mitt, allowing both runners to advance an extra base.
With runners at second and third, Hay stepped up to the plate and helped her own cause by ripping a double down the right-field line, easily scoring both runners.
Kristie Reinhardt followed with a single to center field and gladly accepted second on an errant throw by Severna Park center fielder Alicia Conine.
Colleen Morest then singled to center, bringing Hay home and giving the Knights a comfortable, 3-0 advantage.
"I've always had faith that, if we can get through the order one time, that they can get stuff straight up here (in their heads) -- so they know what the pitcher is going to throw, they can take advantage of the situation," said North County coach Sue Fitchett.
"That's exactly what we want to do -- rise to the occasion and beat a good team. That's what we're here for."
Severna Park's freshman pitcher Jen Spampinato, who gave up seven hits while striking out two and walking none, probably will not cherish any memories of yesterday's fourth inning, nor will her coach.