Friday, March 29, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Devils dominate

Leader sports editor

The young Jacksonville softball team got a pair of easy wins Tuesday, hammering Little Rock McCellan in both games of a 5A-Central doubleheader. Jacksonville blasted through the Lady Lions 17-0 in game one, then made it even worse in game two, winning that matchup 21-0.

Freshman pitcher Kimberly House threw two no hitters to pick up both wins on the mound. She also got three base hits, including two doubles and four runs batted in to lead the way at the plate in game one.

Emily Lovercheck had two base hits and drove in three runs while Bailey Jones also picked up a pair of singles. The Lady Devils put game one away quickly, scoring 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning. They added five more in the second and those were the only two at bats the team needed.

Game two was even worse, as a number of Lady Red Devils got two base hits each. House and Jones added another pair of hits two their totals. Senior Mailani Walker got two hits, including a bases-clearing triple. Freshman Kinley Burrows got a pair of hits with a double. Alexis Goodman reached base on every at bat with two hits and two hit batsmen, and freshman Zylah Richardson got two base hits. Junior speedster Sacha Richardson played the role of House’s courtesy runner, and finished with nine stolen bases in the two games combined.

Jacksonville coach Barry Hickingbotham was pleased with the performance. While uncompetitive games such as these many times do little to help a good team, Hickingbotham says that’s not the case for his squad, whose lineup of 15 players consists of 10 freshmen and sophomores.

“It’s confidence,” Hickingbotham said. “We tried to work on executing situations and we did that pretty well. You can use these kinds of games to teach a young team and I thought we learned a little bit tonight.”

Jacksonville (6-3, 4-0) started play in the Jae Lynn Russell tournament yesterday at Dupree Park, and will continue today. That tournament championship game is slated for 5:30 p.m. next week, Jacksonville has a big early conference showdown with preseason favorite Sylvan Hills. That game is set for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Dupree Park.