Leader Blues

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

SPORTS >> Lady Devils topple Cabot

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

Jacksonville and Cabot met each other in the third-place game of the Harrison faspitch tournament Saturday, and Jacksonville came away with a surprisingly easy win.

The Lady Red Devils shutout the Lady Panthers 10-0, pounding out 14 base hits while pitcher Jessica Bock struck out 10 Lady Panthers.

Every Lady Red Devil in the starting lineup got at least one hit in the victory, which lifted the Lady Devils to 9-1 on the season.

While Jacksonville rolled in the non-conference matchup, that doesn’t mean that they will take the Lady Panthers lightly when they meet this season when it counts, in a conference game.

The two teams’ first league matchup has been postponed until a later date yet to be determined, but Jacksonville coach Phil Bradley doesn’t think Saturday’s win will affect his team’s preparation for the later date.

“We wouldn’t be too bright if we started thinking it’s going to be a cakewalk from here on out,” Bradley said. “Every year since this sport started it’s been us or Cabot for the championship, so we’re not taking them lightly. We played a good game all the way around, but things don’t always go like they did this time. We proved that with our second game. We better be ready to play.”

Jacksonville lost in the tournament semifinals to eventual tournament champion Wynne. The Lady Devils fell 2-1 after giving up both runs in the first inning.

The Lady Yellowjackets played small ball extremely well. They worked the Jacksonville infield with bunts and slap hitting, and the Lady Devils obliged with three errors in the opening frame.

Wynne also got three base hits off bunts by utilizing perfectly placed bunts with good team speed.
“They’re a good team and they know what they’re doing, but we still gave away those two runs,” Bradley said. “We have to stop making those mistakes.”

Of Wynne’s five base hits in the game, three were bunts in the first inning. The Lady Devils opened the event with a 4-1 victory over defending AAAAA state champion Benton.

Ellen Burr led the way offensively, going 5 for 9 at the plate in three games. Monica Fletcher got four base hits in the tournament.

Jacksonville hosted Searcy last night after Leader deadlines while Cabot hosted Forrest City. Look for details of those games in Satur-day’s edition of The Leader.

The Lady Panthers play at Russellville Thursday and at Mount St. Mary’s Friday.
Jacksonville continues league play at Jonesboro Friday.