Hard work pays off with perfect game
It was a three-game stretch Grace Beacham won’t forget.
The 10-year-old pitched a pair of no-hitters and a perfect game last month in helping the Dentsville Softball All-Stars to win the championship at the Dixie Angels X-Play 10U region tournament in Lancaster. The win helped Dentsville advance to the state championship, which begins Saturday at Freedom Florence Park in Florence.
Dentsville opens the tournament against host Florence.
“I wasn’t thinking about it much,” Beacham said while reflecting on her accomplishment. “Didn’t realize what I had done right away. It was crazy. I didn’t realize I pitched a perfect game. It was celebration. I was thinking how cool it was and how all the work I put into it. It paid off.”
David Beacham, Dentsville’s coach and Grace’s father, said he and the team did their best to keep things normal and not make her nervous. There was no mention of the perfect game as it went along and there were no pictures being taken or added distractions.
David Beacham has a copy of the scorebook of the perfect game, which he said they will keep as a souvenir.
Grace began the tournament with a pair of no-hitters as Dentsville won by the run-rule in three innings in both games. Dixie Youth rules state that a pitcher is allowed to pitch 11 innings over the course of the tournament, so she was brought in for the championship game after a day off between games.
The championship game against Blythewood went the five-inning distance as she struck out 13 of the 15 batters she faced. The right-hander fell behind one hitter 3-0 but battled back to record the out.
In the three games of the tournament, Grace pitched 11 innings, faced 35 batters and struck out 28. She walked a batter and hit one.
“Those three days were pretty fun to watch,” her father said. “Her composure on the mound is what stood out the most. She relaxes out there when others remain tense. She remains calm in every situation. And the defense behind her was great.”
Grace has been playing since she was 4-years-old, when she played T-Ball with the boys. She played both coach’s pitch baseball and softball a few years ago and made all-star teams in both.
“I thought all girls played with boys and didn’t know there was such a thing as softball,” Grace said. “It definitely helped me playing against the boys. Baseball was fun, but softball is too.”
Between playing recreation and travel ball, Grace says she plays or practices four or five days a week. She also is on a swim team in the summer and plays the clarinet, but she says softball is her favorite sport.
Grace said she can throw about six or seven different pitches with her favorite being the change-up. She and her father said they will need all of those pitches during the state tournament as the competition will be stronger.
“I don’t know how we are going to stand up against other teams,” David Beacham said. “I would be satisfied with one win or two, but who knows. These girls will go out and give it their all.”