March 29, 2011
San Antonio – St. Mary’s freshman pitcher Maricela Bissaro couldn’t help but notice the blank space that represented Incarnate Word’s hit total when glancing toward the scoreboard entering the top of the seventh inning Tuesday night.
But it wasn’t until several minutes later, following three clutch, excruciating outs, that Bissaro began to realize the importance of that blank space.
No-hitting the cross-town-rival Cardinals, Bissaro added a new twist to her iconic jersey No. 24, orchestrating a historical moment of her own in a 5-0 victory at St. Mary’s Softball Fields.
Bissaro, the daughter of legendary St. Mary’s pitcher Leticia Morales-Bissaro, whose retired No. 24 was unretired for Bissaro to wear, struck out seven and yielded just four base runners on four walks.
“I looked at the scoreboard before that last inning, but it didn’t really click that I had a no-hitter,” said Bissaro, a San Antonio native who improved to 5-4 on the season. “It wasn’t until after the game that I realized it.
“I’m kind of overwhelmed with everything, but it feels good.”
Bissaro turned a game-ending double play in the top of the seventh inning to secure the no-hitter, picking up a grounder and alertly getting the force-out at second base before shortstop Richelle Morales (Jr., San Antonio) fired to first for the final out.
It was the Lady Rattlers’ night from the start, as outfielder Lauren Miller (Sr., Baytown, Texas) smashed a two-run blast over the left-field wall in the bottom of the first. St. Mary’s made it 5-0 in the fifth, as third baseman Chelsea Wenske (Sr., Victoria, Texas), Miller and first baseman Jared Gonzalez (Sophomore, San Antonio) all drove in runs.
Miller led the Rattlers at the plate, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs and a run scored.
But there was no mistaking that this night belonged to Bissaro (5-4), who afterward autographed the game ball as a birthday gift for her grandmother, Melva Morales, who turned 71 on Tuesday.
“I’m extremely proud,” said Leticia Morales-Bissaro (B.A. ’86), who led St. Mary’s to the 1986 NAIA National Championship and was among the 175 fans in attendance Tuesday. “Nervous, but proud.”
Bissaro’s no-hitter certainly had its nail-biting moments, including a sensational grab turned in by centerfielder Katie Nichols (So., San Marcos) for the second out of the sixth.
Then there was the seventh inning when Bissaro walked consecutive batters with one away.
But, just as she had done all night, Bissaro knew how to deliver with the pressure on, turning a game-ending double play to etch her name in St. Mary’s annals.
“I knew coming in I was always going to be behind my mom,” Bissaro said. “I’m just trying to do my own thing, make my own name.”