Friday, April 16, 2010

SPORTS >> Jacksonville’s girls keep pace, take two

Jacksonville second baseman Jennifer Bock gets a hit against LR Parkview.


Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville quickly took control against struggling Little Rock Parkview in a 6A-East Conference doubleheader at Dupree Park on Tuesday.

The Lady Red Devils routed the Lady Patriots 17-1 in the first game and shut them out 17-0 in Game 2 to improve their conference record to 4-6.

Over the weekend Jacksonville reached the championship of the Jae Lynn Russell Memorial tournament and took momentum into Tuesday. But coach Tanya Ganey said the real turnaround for her young team came in a 9-7 loss at Marion late last week.

“These young ladies have improved a lot,” Ganey said. “The first time we played Marion, we lost 15-0. We go back and get down 7-0, but we hit the ball well and stepped up our defense, and even had a chance to win it there in the seventh inning with runners on base. That was a big accomplishment for us.”

Jacksonville rolled past Parkview with a combination of big hits up the middle and poor fielding by the Lady Patriots.

Jacksonville earned 10 of its runs and was led by sophomore cleanup hitter Haley Hickingbotham, who went 2 for 2 with three RBI.

In the first game Hickingbotham drove in the first two runs for the Lady Red Devils with a single to center field that scored Alexis Oakley and junior Candice Howard.

Oakley was 3 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored in the first game.

The junior all-purpose player singled twice in the top of the second and scored when Howard knocked her in with a single to center. Oakley’s second single, a blooper just over shortstop, drove in leadoff batter Jennifer Bock to give the Lady Red Devils a 12-1 lead.

Junior outfielder Riley Zink came to the plate only once for Jacksonville, but made the most of it in the top of the first with an RBI single that made it 3-0. Courtesy runner Chyna Davis scored, then took over for Zink as the No. 5 hitter and came away with a hit and two RBI.

Sophomore pitcher Alexis House gave up the only run to Parkview in the bottom of the first thanks to a walk and a single.

From there, House and the Jacksonville defense kept Parkview off the basepaths.

House gave up one more single and a two-out walk in the bottom of the third but induced a groundout to end the game by the 10-run rule.

Alexis House handled pitching duties in both games. Her sister Whitney House was absent from the bullpen because a stress fracture in her foot.

Bock, Jacksonville’s only senior, finished 2 for 4 after grounding out twice in the first inning. Bock doubled and scored in the second and drove in a run with a single in the third.

With conference sweeps over Hall and Parkview and six seeds available for the East in the 6A state tournament, the odds of the Lady Red Devils reaching the postseason for the 10th consecutive year look promising.