Calhoun High School junior pitcher Grace Baalman made history at the 2016 IHSA Class 1A Softball State Finals at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria on Friday, June 3, 2016.
Facing Trico High School in the semifinals, Baalman set an overall IHSA and IHSA state final single-game record by striking out 39 Pioneer hitters during a marathon 17-inning victory.
The previous state record also occurred at the state tournament, as Alexis United High School’s Katie Bertelsen struck out 34 Cobden High School hitters through 18.2 innings in the 2009 Class 1A state championship game, which Cobden won 1-0 with a walkoff double in the 19th inning.
Baalman, who entered hitting .540 with 18 home runs, had three hits in the game, and one of her three walks led off the top of the 17th inning. She came around to score the winning run on Sophie Lorton’s triple, and the team added three more runs in the frame to go up 4-0. Fittingly, Baalman recorded the final three outs in the 17th inning via strikeout to push her record-setting total to 39 K’s. Trico managed four hits off Baalman in the game.
Trico pitcher Jade Kranawetter was equally strong, striking out 23 Calhoun hitters, while shutting out the Warriors for 16 innings.
Amazingly, the mark didn’t make the NFHS National High School Record Book Honor Roll, as the list requires 42 strikeouts in a game to register in the Top 10. The high school record is 61 K’s by Alicia Hollowell of Fairfield High School (CA) in a 30 inning game in 2001.
Baalman's strikeouts by inning On June 3, 2016 are listed below:
The video below captures Baalman’s 35th strikeout, which gave her the record. She pitched the Warriors to the Class 1A state title a year ago and will try to repeat on Saturday, June 4. She was also a standout on the Calhoun basketball team that won state this past February.
On June 4, 2016, Baalman returned and threw a complete-game shutout while striking out 16, as Calhoun repeated as IHSA Class 1A state champions.