Lawrence High second baseman Erin Miller arrived Thursday at Holcom Sports Complex with a container of eye black despite the obvious lack of sun before a hot-chocolate special of a softball doubleheader against Leavenworth.
Then, the Lions posted two mercy-rule victories against the winless Pioneers, 13-2 and 10-0. In the second game, LHS pitcher Lisa Pearse threw her first varsity no-hitter.
"We decided to take it around to all girls today to see if it would motivate us," Pearse, who helped in the distribution of the pregame war paint. "I think it's one of our new customs."
LHS (7-7) probably wouldn't mind repeating its Thursday performance -- like scoring 23 runs off 22 hits while only committing one error in two games.
"We probably played our best defense, and defense leads to offense," LHS coach Reenie Stogsdill said.
In the first game, Lawrence's Drew Huff led off the first inning with a solo home run to left field. The Lions tacked on four more runs in the third -- three on a Caitlin Bowlin home run -- to take a 4-1 edge going into the fourth inning.
"We didn't let down one time," Bowlin said.
LHS racked up five more runs in the fifth, largely the result of four straight Lions hits off Leavenworth pitchers Chelsie Raines and Toni Reynolds. A two-RBI single by Huff in the sixth ended the game early by run rule.
In the second game, Pearse received plenty of help from her teammates, but she didn't need much -- thanks to her trusty drop ball. Pearse flustered the Pioneers (0-12) with the pitch, leading to 11 groundouts.
"It's one of my favorite pitches," said Pearse, who struck out six and walked two. "I love to keep batters off balance with it. It's very effective."
Stogsdill said her club "had no clue" about Pearse's no-hitter. Of course, the pitcher did.
"There weren't any superstitions in the dugout," Pearse said about the later innings of the game.
"I was just trying to keep it going in the sixth."
Lawrence's monster inning came in the fifth, when the team scored five runs off four hits. Bowlin's two-run double gave LHS a 10-run lead and the mercy-rule victory.
The Lions will play host Tuesday to Shawnee Mission West at Holcom.