Story Courtesy of NFCA
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – SIUE's Haley Chambers' perfect game earned her 2015 Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Pitcher of the Week honors for games played over March 16-22.
Chambers (Coatesville, Indiana) put on a masterful performance in her final outing of the week against Ohio Valley Conference foe Morehead State. The junior lefty twirled a near perfect, perfect game striking out 20 of a possible 21 batters in a 1-0 road win.
"It not only means a lot to me, but to the coaching staff, the team, and to the school," Chambers said. "Not only do they know my name now, they know who SIUE is. It puts us on the map, which I think is the most important thing that comes out of this."
Selected the OVC Pitcher of the Week, Chambers struck out the first 17 batters of the game and after a fly ball to end the sixth, she calmly sent the final three batters back to the dugout on her own. Her career-high strikeout performance was one shy of the Div. I seven-inning record set in 1991 by Michele Granger of California. It was Chambers' second perfect game and fourth no-hitter of her collegiate career.
"It really didn't sink in until coach told me I was the National Pitcher of the Week," continued Chambers. "I really didn't think a lot of it (perfect game) after it happened. I think it finally clicked that I did something that doesn't usually happen. It's almost like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of achievement.
For the week, Chambers was 3-0 with a 0.76 ERA, allowing two runs on 11 hits with 37 strikeouts and two walks in 18.1 innings of work. After picking up a win in relief against in-state foe Bradley (4.1 IP, 4K), she posted a complete game four-hitter with 13 strikeouts in a 5-1 win over Eastern Kentucky.
"Obviously, it's a great award for Haley," said SIUE head coach Sandy Montgomery. "She has worked hard as a pitcher and has made a lot of strides this year from a command standpoint and her presence on the mound. I think this award is a direct reflection of that. What it means to our program is national recognition for a mid-major. I think that's huge from a recruiting standpoint. I think it's great for our kids and our institution to be on the national map in whatever capacity. What a better way to do it than for one of your players to get an honor even if it is just for a week."
Montgomery on the perfect game – "I told Haley after the game that I have been involved in many perfect games in my lifetime as a player and as a coach and none was as mind-boggling as this one. To get 20 strikeouts in a game and be virtually unhittable shows the tremendous focus that she had at that moment in time. Everybody on the team knew what was going on. I think our team was extremely excited for her and certainly excited to be a part of it."
Pitcher of the Week
March 24 – Haley Chambers (SIUE)
March 17 – Ally Carda (UCLA)
March 10 - Ally Carda (UCLA)
March 3 – Delanie Gourley (Florida)
Feb. 24 – Cheridan Hawkins (Oregon)
Feb. 17 - Shelby Turnier (UCF)
Feb. 10 - Miranda Kramer (Western Kentucky)
Article retrieved from www.siuecougars.com/sports