Leader Blues

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SPORTS>> Lanier leads Lady Devils to sweep

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

JONESBORO — The long bus ride had no adverse effects, nor did the drizzly conditions.

Jacksonville dominated both games of a 6A-East Conference doubleheader at Jonesboro on Saturday with a career day for sophomore pitcher Jessica Lanier. Lanier struck out all but six of the batters she faced on her way to throwing a perfect game during a 4-0 win in the opener, and hit it over the wall during both of her trips to the plate in Game 2, which led to a 8-0 Lady Red Devil’s win.

“Jessica had a great day, shepitched well and had two home runs,” Lady Red Devil coach Tanya Ganey said. “But the whole team was really incredible. Defensively, we all stepped up. We had girls that got their first varsity hits.”

Lanier ended up with 28 strikeouts in the two games, with 13 more coming in the nightcap. She did give up a pair of hits and a walk in the second game, but the Lady Devil defense held strong with their second error-free performance of the day.

The victories allowed Jacksonville to keep pace in the conference as one of three teams with two losses. The Lady Red Devils improved to 9-2 in league and 11-4 overall.

Bad weather threatened to cancel yet another day for the Lady Red Devils.

Upon arrival, the two teams had two wait out the rain and lightning that was in the northeast Arkansas area, but it finally subsided, and the games went on as planned.

Jonesboro allowed seven hits in the first game. Jennifer Bock landed two of those hits for the Lady Red Devils, as did Riley Zinc. Taylor Norsworthy, Paula Burr and Chyna Davis each finished with one hit.

Many of the usual suspects stepped up to have good offensive performances in Game 2, and even a couple of new faces.

Lanier’s 2 of 2, two-home-run performance led the way, but Davis also backed up her Game 1 performance by going 2 of 3.

Ganey put some fresh faces into the lineup late after they had the game in hand, and first-timers Casey Tyson and Frederika Hart took advantage by coming away with their first varsity hits.

“We have some big games coming up this week in Marion and Mountain Home; we’ll find out what we’re really made of after those.”

The Lady Devils played at Marion last night after Leader deadlines. The Lady Patriots took the win 2-0 during the first meeting between the two teams, but Jacksonville had one runner on and no outs in the bottom of the sixth when the game was called for weather.