She defeated all 21 batters she faced in the seven-inning game against Arkansas Pine Bluff. But this wasn’t just a shutout or a no-hitter. It even went beyond the traditional definition of a perfect game because every single out was a strikeout.
Within hours, the hashtag #HopeIsDope was trending and North Texas was featured on ESPN.
— North Texas Softball (@MeanGreenSB) April 12, 2021
The game is the first perfect seven-inning game in NCAA Division I history in which every out was a strikeout. While there have been other perfect D1 games in the past, others have never included a strikeout for every single out up to now.
In other words, Trautwein just achieved a feat so rare and so incredible that there’s no existing sports term to describe it.
To explain just how amazing Trautwein’s accomplishment really is, we need to take a closer look at some important baseball/softball definitions. There are three types of games which are considered notable achievements, particularly when it comes to pitching:
Shutout: This is any game in which the opposing team doesn’t score.
It could be 1-0 or 15-0 as the final score—both are considered shutouts. The winning team can play more than one pitcher and it’s still considered a “shutout” as long as the other team doesn’t rack up a single run. For the shutout to be added to a pitcher’s official statistics, however, they need to be the only one to pitch for the entire game.
No-hitter: Just like the name implies, this game involves zero hits from the opposing team. It’s still possible for the other team to get on base through a walk, a hit by pitch (HBP), or an error. This usually leads to a shutout, too, but it is technically possible for the other team to score without ever hitting the ball.
A no-hitter is usually awarded when a single pitcher plays the entire game, but it can also be attributed to two or more pitchers who contribute over the course of the game. In that case, each player is listed with the number of innings they pitched.
Perfect game: This is considered the most difficult feat for a team to achieve (it’s only happened 23 times in MLB history). The perfect game is a shutout and a no-hitter at the same time, with the winning team allowing no hits, walks, hit batsmen, interference, or errors. No one from the opposing team even gets on base. It can be accomplished by one or more pitchers for the winning team, although it most commonly occurs with a single pitcher.
Each of these notable outcomes is largely focused on (and attributed to) the pitcher’s performance. However, the defense usually plays a role, too. The rest of the team on the field, from the catcher to the infielders to the outfielders, all play backup roles that help to secure a shutout, no-hitter, or perfect game.
That wasn’t the case when North Texas went up against Arkansas Pine Bluff on Sunday.
Only Trautwein and the team’s catcher, Ashlyn Walker, touched the ball when the team was on defense.
Yes, only two players. The pitcher and the catcher.
It was a perfect game made even more perfect by Trautwein’s strikeout with every opposing player that stepped up to the plate.
This accomplishment is so unheard of that there’s no existing baseball/softball term for it.
An “all-strikeout perfect game” would be an apt description, but it doesn’t sound quite as catchy as the other terms on the list.
A history-making performance
Trautwein pitched consistently throughout the game and led the team to a 3-0 win, the first of two for that day’s doubleheader.
As it turns out, the Pflugerville, Texas native was so caught up in the game that she didn’t even realize the feat she was about to accomplish. She had previously pitched two no-hitters in her college career, and it wasn’t until her coaches informed her after the game that she realized this game had gone beyond her previous stats.
Head coach Rodney DeLong knows the recognition for Trautwein is well-deserved.
“One thing about Hope, she’s the hardest worker on our team, brings energy to everything we do,” he told The Washington Post. “Even when we’re taking batting practice and all the pitchers are shagging balls, she’s flying around catching balls. She’s just locked in to whatever it is she has to do. I think her ability to stay focused, her attention span and all that stuff is just how she works and what goes into her game.”
DeLong even came up with a clever idea for naming the history feat.
As he told NPR’s Morning Edition, “I mean Hope did it, so maybe we call it a Hope-a-Dope.”