Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Shelby Donhauser never expected she'd end her high school softball career as a Kenmore West Blue Devil, but that made the feeling all the more surreal on Senior Night.
The tears streamed down Donhauser's face after she tossed a no-hitter to lead Kenmore West (10-4) to a dominant 13-0 victory over Kenmore East (4-10) at Sheridan Park Wednesday night.
"I love every single one of these girls," said Donhauser, who played at Williamsville North until her family moved to Kenmore before her senior year. "This is a classic game, playing under the lights, playing your rival, Kenmore East. Everyone's emotions are high and the intensity is high. Everyone came together and we wanted it so bad."
Donhauser struck out 14 batters and also went 2 for 5 at the plate with three RBIs. She struck out seven of the first eight batters she faced and will play college softball at SUNY Binghamton in the fall.
"I've known Shelby since she was 8 or 9 years old from pitching clinics," said Kenmore West coach Matt Chimera. "Now those same clinics, she helps coach the younger kids with us. She's mature beyond her years. She's like another coach on the field."
West asserted its dominance from the get-go, leading 4-0 after one inning, 9-0 after two and 13-0 after three. Kenmore East, sporting pink jerseys in support of breast cancer awareness, struggled to catch up with Donhauser's speedy pitches.
Blue Devils senior outfielder Bridget Gormley scored two runs and drove in two, as well. Senior infielder Mary Louise Lindner added two runs.
In the first East-West matchup of the year, Donhauser had 12 strikeouts on the mound and went 3 for 4 with two RBIs at the plate to help her team to a 9-2 victory over the Bulldogs on April 18.
Donhauser is one of five West seniors who played their final home game Wednesday night. She threw a one-hitter Monday against Lew-Port and had her no-hit bid denied late in the game. Wednesday, she was not going to be denied.
"From the fifth inning on, she was especially focused," Chimera said. "She's a great kid, great pitcher. We're going to miss her next year."
The tall righty pitcher was quick to credit her teammates after the game, attributing her no-hitter largely to their defensive effort — specifically a highlight-worthy diving grab by junior first baseman Hanna Post in the seventh inning. Donhauser hit one batter and surrendered one walk, but those were the only times East reached base.
While Donhauser and the West seniors have played her final home game, the Blue Devils' season is far from over. The squad will play non-league games Friday against Amherst and Saturday against West Seneca East, and sectionals begin next week.
Donhauser said she was nervous when she faced the final batter, but she reminded herself to stay focused on her goal. She shrieked when the final hitter popped out.
"I just had fun today, really, on Senior Night," she said.Find contributor Aaron Mansfield on Twitter @AaronCMansfield.