Leader Blues

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

SPORTS>> Lady Devils win twice in twin-bill

IN SHORT: Jacksonville handles Forrest City with two shutout wins Monday

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils stayed on pace as co-league leaders with Cabot in the AAAAA-East race Monday with a doubleheader sweep of Forrest City.

The Lady Devils won the opening game of the afternoon 9-0 in seven innings, and then run ruled the Lady Mustangs 11-0 in five in the nightcap.

Sophomore hurler Jessica Bock allowed just two hits in both games combined, both coming in game one.

The Lady Devils only committed one error in the evening too, something Jacksonville coach Phil Bradley was glad to see after his team’s error-filled performance in the Lady Devil Classic over the weekend.

“I’ve said all along that if we play defense, we’re pretty tough to beat,” Bradley said. “We’ve got the pitching and we’ve got the hitters, we just give too much away sometimes.”

Forrest City hung tough throughout the first half of game one. The Lady Mustangs trailed just 1-0 after four innings and made their most serious threat in the bottom of that frame.

Junior Rishondra Deans led off with a bunt single, then an error by Bock left Leigh Anna Taylor on first base. A groundout by pitcher Stacey Gracey moved both runners into scoring position with one out. Bock then thwarted the threat by fanning Ashley Shaw and Chari Agnew in order to end the inning.

Jacksonville’s bats finally started making some noise in the fifth. Bock singled to left field to lead off the frame, and freshman Taylor Norsworthy tripled to left-center to bring in Bock. Senior catcher Somer Grimes then laid down a bunt single that scored Norsworthy. Grimes stole second then advanced all the way home when Megan Peeples’ grounder was mishandled at first base. Freshman Monica Fletcher then hit a sacrifice grounder to second base to score Peeples and give Jacksonville a 5-0 lead.

The Lady Devils got five more in the sixth to set the final margin. Five of the first six batters reached base safely on four hits and a walk. Whitney Belew drew a walk to start things off and Bock singled to left field. Norsworthy popped out, but the next three batters, Grimes, Whitney Conrade and Peeples, hit consecutive singles to set the final margin.

Bock struck out 12 in the game.

Jacksonville grabbed the lead early in game two with a single run in the first inning. In the bottom of the second, Bock and Norsworthy led off with back-to-back triples to start a five-run rally.

The lead grew to 8-0 over the next two innings. The twinbill came to an end in the bottom of the fifth when senior Terrica Hinton hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run down the right-field line.

The two wins lift Jacksonville’s overall record to 11-5 and their conference record to 7-1.

Forrest City falls to 3-9 overall. The Lady Devils have a huge home matchup with Cabot (9-1 conference) on Thursday. The Lady Panthers’ only conference loss this season came at home to Jacksonville.