On Friday, Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m., history was made at the D.L. Phillips Softball Complex. It wasn’t the highest scoring game by the Charlotte 49ers, nor was it the most intense softball game held in the complex. It was, however, a huge day for junior pitcher, Haley Wiseman. Not only did she throw a no-hitter against Robert Morris on that sunny afternoon, but she also threw Charlotte’s first perfect game since the 1998 season.
Haley is originally from Winter Haven, Florida and has had her fair share of success before she ever put on the Charlotte jersey. At Lake Region High School, Wiseman was voted pitcher of the year her junior and senior years, she was voted the 2015 Defensive MVP at Barry University and she was also voted 2015 Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year. She has been playing softball since she was only 8 years old.
“One of my favorite softball memories over the years is getting to pitch to my dad from when I was eight until now,” Wiseman said. “We had a lot of good memories at tournaments all over the country and spent countless hours in the bullpen together.”
The 49er started off her softball days in a rec league, but then worked her way into travel ball a short while after. When she was 9, she started pitching with coach Mike Littlejohn, whom she stays in touch with to this day. Although she did not have a specific role model in softball when growing up, the pitcher explained that “all of my past teammates and coaches have inspired and helped me get to where I am today.”
All of those influences led her to join the 49ers for her sophomore year of college.
As a sophomore, she started 19 games in the circle for the Niners, and she completed 15 of them. In those 15 games, she struck out a total of 154 batters, the fourth most in the C-USA. She only allowed 93 hits the entire season, which was the sixth best in C-USA.
“I think a major improvement I have made since I have been at UNCC is my physical strength and conditioning.” Haley said. “We all work really hard in the weight room every week in season and in the off season of softball.”
All of her hard work in the weight room and during practice really shows when she is in the circle pitching. Her stats so far this season are 11-7, with an eight-game win streak starting on Feb. 15 and ending on March 3.
The game she pitched against Robert Morris was the first no-hitter since former 49er Lexi Betancourt kept Elon from getting a single hit in 2015, and ended that game at 3-0. The last perfect game Charlotte saw was pitched by Sherry Olekson back in 1998 against Youngstown State. Wiseman is only the fourth woman to pitch a perfect game for Charlotte, the other two being Brooks Bower in 1997 and Wendy Stratton back in 1990. Wiseman realized she was on her way to a perfect game when she had one out in the last inning. She said that she “just tried to keep throwing how (she) had been the whole game.”
Wiseman is a great team player and believed that her teammates are the ones who helped her make it through the five innings. When asked about Charlotte’s performance as a whole, the Niner said, “My teammates really kept the upbeat environment in the dugout and kept the momentum the whole game by scoring 11 runs, which made it possible for me to perform successfully as well.”
The pitcher felt in command the entire game, and was not nervous during a single play because her fellow 49ers were hitting the ball and keeping the Colonials at bay. Charlotte scored three runs in the first inning, four runs in the second, and three more runs in the third, so she felt there was no need to worry.
Following the dominating performance against Robert Morris, Wiseman pitched three more victorious games for Charlotte, but said “I don’t think (the perfect) game has really influenced me since.”
“I just focus every game on taking one pitch at a time, and taking the confidence gained that game into the next, as well as making improvements each game,” Wiseman said.
She pitches every game like she would any other, and that is one of the keys to her success.
The day will remain in the history books of the Charlotte 49ers softball program forever. When Wiseman was asked to describe Feb. 24 in one word, she choose “exhilarating.”