Friday, May 11, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Lady ’Backs down Devils

Leader sportswriter

The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils dug a hole early and stayed there as Texarkana routed the 6A state tournament hosts 11-1 in the first round at Dupree Park on Thursday.

The Lady Razorbacks, the No. 3 seed from the 6A South Conference, built an early 6-0 lead after one inning and scattered their remaining scores necessary for a sixth-inning run rule to advance to the quarterfinal round of the 6A tourney, where they faced Russellville in an afternoon matchup.

Jacksonville (9-15) regrouped after a rough first inning and began to slowly battle back once the early nerves settled. They made up a run in the top of the second inning, but left runners on base in the third and fourth innings before Texarkana relief pitcher Kaitlyn Eaves shut the Lady Devils down completely during their final two turns at the plate.

Coyja Hood led off the top of the second for Jacksonville with a single to left field and advanced to second on a passed ball before making her way to third on a groundout to second by Mailani Walker. Shyrel McKinney then hit into an error at shortstop to score Hood for Jacksonville’s only run.

That made up for only one run in a first inning that was fruitful for the Lady ’Backs. Breagan White led off with a double and scored when three-hole hitter Eaves reached on an outfield error. Bailey Nicholas singled and Rickela Williams walked to load the bases, and Morgan Powell hit a single shot into right field to score two Jones reached on an error to score Powell, but the biggest hit of the inning came from Destinee Turner in the form of a big triple smash into deep left field to score Jones and give Texarkana a 6-0 lead.

The Lady Red Devils turned things around defensively in the bottom of the second inning to go three up and three down, but The Lady Razorbacks added two more scores in the bottom of the third. They scored another pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth and had the game-winning run headed home when the third out was called for runner interference. Powell ran into Jacksonville third baseman McKinney on a fly foul that was just outside the baseline.

But the home team on the scoreboard got the needed run to end it early in the bottom of the sixth inning when Eaves reached on an error and advanced on a single by Nicholas before scoring the final run on a single to center from Morgan Powell.

The loss marked the final varsity game for a number of three-year starting seniors that included first baseman Haley Hickingbotham, pitching twins Whitney House and Alexis House, as well as shortstop Bailey Mallison.