As It Happens·Q&A

Texas softball player who pitched perfect game says response has been 'mind-blowing'

The University of North Texas softball team swept its series in El Paso this weekend, but it's a game it won earlier this month that people are still talking about — and that's all because of pitcher Hope Trautwein. 

North Texas pitcher Hope Trautwein says softball players she looks up to have been talking about her

On April 11, North Texas softball player Hope Trautwein faced 21 batters and struck them all out. It's her first-ever perfect game — and an historic achievement at her university. (North Texas Athletics)

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The University of North Texas softball team swept its series in El Paso this weekend, but it's a game the team won earlier this month that people are still talking about — and that's all because of pitcher Hope Trautwein.

The Mean Green were playing the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff when Trautwein pitched a "straight-up" perfect game. She faced 21 batters during the regulation seven-inning game and struck them all out. 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) says she's made history, calling her the first player in D1 NCAA softball history to throw a seven-inning perfect game with 21 strikeouts.

It's also the North Texas softball program's first-ever perfect game, according to a press release in which coach Rodney DeLong described Trautwein as "the hardest worker" on the team. 

"She brings it every day and she deserves all the credit and all the success in the world," he said.

Trautwein spoke with As It Happens host Carol Off about her achievement. Here is part of their conversation.

What has this past week been like for you? 

It's been insane. There has been news outlets trying to cover this story everywhere. I'm talking to someone from Canada, so that's amazing.

It's just been an incredible [outpouring] of love, not only for what I did, but for the game of softball. It's been amazing.

You've had famous softball players who are tweeting about you, right?

Yes. They're saying, "This is awesome. Like, this has never been done before."

Lauren Chamberlain and Jen Schroeder and actually Cat Osterman, who I think is the best pitcher in the world, she came on MLB Network and talked about it for a little bit. So that was kind of, like, mind-blowing.

Trautwein has achieved no-hitters before, but earlier this month, she pitched her first perfect game. (North Texas Athletics)

What are they saying about you?

They not only know how difficult it is to throw a straight-up perfect game. But they're saying, like, how amazing it must have been. 

And they're kind of poking fun at my teammates a little bit. There's a video of my last out and my teammates are kind of going around, business as usual. But that's kind of how I like to run things.

They're going around, business as usual, because they didn't want to jinx you, right?

Right. There's kind of a superstition around perfect games and how to treat a pitcher in the dugout. 

You don't say, "Oh my gosh, like, Hope is throwing a perfect game right now." Because then odds are the very next inning, it's not going to happen anymore.

I've had people call me 'wild horse' before because people just swing.- Softball pitcher Hope Trautwein

What is a perfect game?

A perfect game is a game where no batter reaches first base. So nobody gets a hit, nobody gets a walk, nobody gets a hit by pitch.

Did they even make contact with the ball?

Yes, a few times. I think a handful of times they had foul balls. There were a couple bunt attempts, a couple swings.

That must be very demoralizing for the other team.

Well, we had another game right after that, so they had another chance at a couple of our other pitchers. But they … didn't succeed at the other pitchers either.

Did you have any of those innings that were, as they say, immaculate?

I believe so. I think I had three nine-pitch innings.

I've seen the video of you pitching. You have quite an arm.… What's your secret, do you think?

Throw hard. And if I miss, then I miss at 110 per cent.

You throw hard, but accurately, obviously.

Well, sometimes.

A lot of my strikes come off as swing and a miss. And, I mean, most of the time, if they swing and miss, the ball is out of the zone.

I've had people call me "wild horse" before, because people just swing. So I don't exactly have to throw in the zone to be successful.

Do you think at some point people just get spooked when you're pitching?

I hope so.

Where does this put your team and you as far as records?

So we are 24-9 as a team, we're first place in the west division of our conference, and we've won 10 straight games.

Is this the first time you have actually thrown a perfect game?

This is my first perfect game. But it is my third no-hitter.

While pitching for the North Texas softball team, Trautwein, left, is also earning her MBA. (Twitter/North Texas Athletics)

Where do you think your career is going to go?

For a player like me, I'm not from a Power Five conference, so it's a little bit more difficult for me to have a professional career ... after I graduate from college. 

But I do have one more season of eligibility left. So I'm just hoping to finish up here. I'll graduate in May 2022 with my MBA ... and hopefully start a job.

What will happen to your amazing arm and your softball record?

It will probably just be a record in a book somewhere. Maybe I can be a coach. I coach a little bit now. I give a lot of lessons. So I hope to stay in the game that way.

Hope Trautwein on pitching the perfect game

Sports

29 days ago
3:16
The North Texas senior talks about what her perfect game really means to her, what she wants to accomplish next and whether she'll be watching softball at Tokyo 2020. 3:16

Written and produced by Katie Geleff. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity. 

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