Alexa Rehmeier said she enters every start in the circle thinking about pitching a perfect game.
Now she has one to remember.
"I've been wanting one for a very long time," Rehmeier said Monday after the Helias senior retired all 21 Capital City batters in a 7-0 victory at Capital City High School. "I finally got it done."
Rehmeier, who has thrown "a couple" of no-hitters, had 57 strikes among her 86 pitches Monday.
"She had them off-balance," Helias coach Chris Wyrick said. "She's been pretty strong the last three or four times she's been out there and she was on again today.
"She didn't let them breathe, she was on them from the first pitch of the game."
Capital City coach Brett Skinner didn't think the Lady Cavaliers took a good approach in their at-bats.
"We've only seen that velocity a couple of times, we tried to make some adjustments because she was getting ahead in the count so much," Skinner said. "We played right into her strength."
Helias, which stranded runners at the corners in the top of the first inning, got on the board with a run in the second.
Payton Dudenhoeffer led off with a single on a 1-2 pitch, before advancing to third an out later on a single by Molly Berkey. Ava Morris followed with a sacrifice bunt to score Dudenhoeffer.
The Lady Crusaders then blew the game open in the third, sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring six runs.
With one out, Mallorey Rogers beat out an infield single and Audrey Ickes came on as a pinch-runner. Paige Schaffer followed with a double the Capital City right fielder lost in the sun as Ickes moved to third.
It was the first of a trio of balls the Capital City defense lost in the sun in the inning.
"We practice with it all the time," Skinner said. "They complain about it every single time and I tell them it's going to be this exact same way when we play in games, so we need to practice in it.
"It just got us, maybe now we'll take it a little more seriously in practice."
Kendyll Rackers drove home Ickes with a grounder to third to make it 2-0.
Helias then banged out five consecutive two-out hits. Dudenhoeffer doubled to right-center to score Schaffer before Cori Verlsues beat out an infield single to put runners at first and third. Berkey and Morris followed with triples to right field before an infield single by Liv Bloomer drove home the final running of the inning to make it 7-0.
With Capital City pitcher Lydia Coulson working away to the Lady Crusaders' right-handed hitters, hitting to right field was important, Wyrick said
"If they want to give you something, we'll take it," he said. "Use the whole field."
That was enough run support for Rehmeier, who struck out five Lady Cavaliers through the first two innings and added two more Ks in the bottom of the third.
"I started thinking about seriously about the perfect game probably in the fourth or fifth inning," Rehmeier said. "But I knew I had to keep pounding the strike zone to get the outs."
Rehmeier wasn't going to let the seven-run advantage distract her from the task at hand.
"There's a chance you could lose focus with the bigger lead," Rehmeier said. "But even with the seven-run lead, we should always focus on doing our best to stay ahead."
A nice running catch in right by Berkey ended the Capital City fourth. Helias shortstop Ella Meyer then made a nice backpedaling catch for the first out of the fifth.
"The defense was really helping us out, getting the plays when we needed them," Rehmeier said.
Rackers, the Helias catcher, made a nice catch near the screen to get the first out of the sixth before Rehmeier struck out the next two batters.
In the seventh, Rehmeier caught a pop fly for the first out. The second out was recorded on a bunt attempt before Rackers caught another foul ball to end it and set off a Helias celebration.
"When she fell behind in the count today, she got right back in the count with the next pitch or two," Wyrick said. "If you are that aggressive, put hitters on the defensive right off the bat, that spells trouble for their offense.
"If she can avoid walking people and make teams get two or three hits off her to score, she can make it very tough on the opposing team."
Rehmeier finished with 11 strikeouts.
Schaffer had four hits to pace a 13-hit Helias attack. Dudenhoeffer and Berkey added two hits each.
Coulson walked two and struck out nine for Capital City, which had won eight straight games.
"Lydia threw well," Skinner said. "She was ahead against a lot of hitters, I don't think the 7-0 final reflects the way she threw."
It's the start of a busy week for the Lady Cavaliers (16-6), who will play four games in four days to wrap up the regular season. Capital City will host Iberia today before traveling Wednesday to Owensville and Thursday to Versailles.
The Lady Cavaliers end the Central Missouri Activities Conference season with a 2-4 record.
Helias (15-6, 5-1), the defending Class 3 state champion, will wrap up the home portion of its schedule Wednesday against Class 2 defending state champion Sherwood (14-1).
"It's going to be a very good test for us," Wyrick said.
The varsity game will start at 5 p.m. at the American Legion Post 5 Sports Complex.
Helias and Capital City are two of the eight teams in the Class 5 District 3 Tournament, which will be seeded today.