It was so special, so improbable, so bizarre that Ivana Angel just kind of stood there after it happened.
“My entire team was yelling at me,” she said. “Did I do something wrong?”
Nope. She did everything right, all on her own.
At the time a shortstop for the Fort Vancouver junior varsity softball team against Hockinson, the freshman caught a soft line drive, and noticed the runner who was on second base was headed to third. She tagged out the runner. Her coach then told her about the other runner, the one going from first to second. Angel hustled over and tagged out that runner, too.
Unassisted triple play.
“Oh, three outs. Now I get to bat,” Angel said. “That’s all that was on my mind. I’ll get to bat now.”
Well, her coach, James Unger, then explained the significance of the play.
In Major League Baseball’s modern era, there have been 15 unassisted triple plays. That’s fewer than perfect games thrown by pitchers. So yeah, this was kind of a big deal.
Not bad for someone who just started playing softball this year.
The story gets better for Angel. This week, she was called up to varsity -- not because of that play, which happened March 27, but for her overall play this season.
“We see a lot of potential in her,” Fort Vancouver head coach Crystal Wallace said.
Angel said her main sport is volleyball. This winter, she did not play a sport. And that bugged her.
“I really hate not being part of a team,” she said.
A number of her friends play softball and encouraged her to come out for the team.
“I wanted to try something new, but I was afraid of trying something new,” Angel said. “I was always afraid I was going to suck.”
So far, she is excelling.
Before she left the JV team, though, there was a dessert party for her, to celebrate the feat.
Angel had cheesecake and received a ball signed by her teammates, and Unger gave her a trophy.
That’s a triple play, too. But that one was assisted.