Leader Blues

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SPORTS >> Lady Devils post sweep of Jonesboro

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

It was a 6A-East Conference doubleheader sweep for the Jacksonville Lady Red Devils on Friday. The Lady Devils took a 9-0 shutout win over Jonesboro in Game 1, and outlasted a small rally by the Lady Hurricane in the nightcap for a 7-1 win at Dupree Park.

Jacksonville is now 11-6 overall and 8-4 in the 6A-East Conference. The Lady Red Devils played last night at Searcy, and will wrap up league play tomorrow at Little Rock Parkview.

The Lady Red Devils collected more insurance than the Aflac duck in the top of the seventh inning of the opener, scoring five runs on six hits, including a triple by Baylee Herlacher that scored two runs, followed by singles by Jennifer Bock, Raven Pickett and Brandi Holder.

The Lady Hurricane held Jacksonville scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning in Game 2. Jessica Lanier doubled before senior third baseman Paula Burr hit an RBI double to drive her in.

Pitcher Lanier gave up little at the mound on Friday. The junior hurler held Jonesboro to only two hits while striking out eight, although she did give up a rare walk in the bottom of the fourth inning.

She continued to shut down the Lady ’Canes in the second game with seven strikeouts and three hits, two of which came during a last-ditch effort by Jonesboro in the top of the seventh inning.

Riley Zink began the clinching seventh inning for Jacksonville with a pop single to left field. Oakley then bunted to reach on a single and advance Zink, and both scored when Herlacher blasted a triple into deep right field to put the Lady Devils up 5-0.

Bock brought Herlacher in with a single to right, followed by a single by Pickett and an RBI single by Holder that plated Bock.

Burr drove in Pickett and Holder when she hit a grounder to shortstop that was misplayed to set the final margin.

When Lanier wasn’t striking out the Hurricane, the Jacksonville defense was gobbling up. It was a busy game for second baseman Bock, who saw seven of the 14 balls put in play by the Lady Hurricane come her way. Her only bobble in the bottom of the sixth inning was sandwiched between three strikeouts by Lanier, and the rest looked easy for the consistent junior.

Scoring was scattered for Jacksonville in the opening innings of Game 1. Holder singled to right field to start the second inning, and scored when Burr grounded out to shortstop.

The Lady Red Devils had four hits in the top of the third, but were able to only cash in on one of them. First baseman Alexis Oakley started things off with a single, and advanced on an infield bunt single by Herlacher. Pickett loaded the bases with a bunt single, and Holder’s second single of the game drove in Oakley.

The fourth and fifth innings were scoreless for Jacksonville, and the sixth inning was beginning to look similar when Lanier stepped up to the plate for the Lady Red Devils with no one on and two outs. Lanier sent a sharp grounder up the middle, which made its way under the glove of Jonesboro’s second baseman and all the way to the fence. That gave Lanier ample time to round the bases for an inside-the-park home run and put the Lady Devils up 3-0.

Holder was 3 of 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Herlacher was 2 of 4 with a triple and two RBI. Pickett was also 2 of 4, while Oakley was 2 of 3 with two runs scored and Burr finished with three RBI.

The Lady Devils had 14 hits against Jonesboro in Game 2, including fourth-inning singles by Zink and Oakley.