When Western Carolina pitcher Taylor Sigmon ’16 retired the last batter she faced in the opening game of a softball doubleheader against North Carolina A&T in April, she knew she had done something special. She just didn’t know how neat it was until she saw coach Jim Clift bound out of the dugout a little quicker than usual after the 5-0 win.
“He was really excited and said, ‘You just threw a perfect game,’” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Oh thanks.’”
The last play was a bouncer to the mound that Sigmon fielded, then threw to first for the 21st out. She knew she hadn’t allowed a hit, but wasn’t aware that no opposing player also had reached base.
“She did not know what was going on,” said Clift, who had informed his outfielders before the last inning not to let anything bounce in front of them. “When that last out happened, that probably startled her. A guy jumping off of a bucket, jumping into the air and running out to the line and giving her a big hug. I don’t hug my players like that.”
Sigmon became the first softball pitcher in school history to record a perfect game. She struck out 11 and had some big defensive plays behind her, most notably a hard-hit ball that shortstop Karley Harkey ’16 handled and a bouncer up the middle that second baseman Crystal Cyr reached and then made the throw to first to get the runner.
“I definitely couldn’t have done it without my teammates because obviously I didn’t strike everybody out,” said Sigmon, from Catawba. “They were definitely making big plays behind me and those were a couple that stood out.”
Sigmon also reached a milestone when she drove in two runs in the sixth inning of the same game, becoming the Catamounts’ career leader in RBIs with 101. “I was really more excited for my team because winning those two games meant we’d have a winning season for the first time since 2006,” said Sigmon. “It was just a good day all around.”
The team finished the season with a 33-24 overall record and third place in Southern Conference play.
Reprinted in edited format with permission of the Asheville Citizen-Times.