Tuesday, April 08, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Devils win tournament

Leader sports editor

They were a late entry, but ready nonetheless. The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils won the Jae Lynn Russell Memorial Scholarship tournament Saturday at Dupree Park. The Lady Devils beat Little Rock Christian 10-0, Maumelle 3-1 and eStem Charter 6-4 to take home the first-place trophy.

“Overall we played pretty well,” said Jacksonville coach Hank Hawk. “After about the second game, we had a team meeting because we were not playing as a team. Since then there’s really been no individuals. We’ve played pretty well since that talk.”

The championship matchup was somewhat of a surprise. Both teams pulled off mild upsets to get to the title game. Jacksonville beat Maumelle and eStem beat tournament host North Pulaski 7-6.

The Lady Mets jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but Jacksonville scored three in the bottom of the same frame.

The first three Lady Devils to come to the plate scored, starting with a leadoff home run by Morgan Lloyd. Zylah Richardson and Bailey Jones then hit back-to-back singles, and scored on sacrifice grounders by Kinley Burrows and Kymberly House.

Neither team scored in the second inning, but eStem added three in the top of the third for a 4-3 lead. Katlyn Cleveland got a leadoff single, followed by a Callie Clement walk two batters later. Jordan Mallard and Leah Allen then hit consecutive doubles to drive in the three runs. But the lead was short-lived.

Jones and Burrows got things rolling for Jacksonville in the bottom of the third with back-to-back, one-out doubles to tie the game. House then singled to score Burrows and put Jacksonville back in front. The Lady Devils tacked on another run in the fourth to set the final margin. Brianna Loyd got a leadoff single and scored on a two-out base hit by Richardson.

House got the win on the mound in the title game. She went the distance, giving up seven hits while striking out eight and walking just two. Jacksonville got eight base hits in the championship game, and against Maumelle in the semifinals, but weren’t as efficient in getting those runners across the plate against the Lady Hornets.

Both teams scored a single run in the first inning, and Jacksonville added two more in the third for the win.

House and Loyd split time on the mound, giving up a combined five hits.

Jacksonville’s runs in the first inning came when Richardson reached on a slap swing base hit to left field, and scored on a double by Bailea Mitchell. She tried to stretch it into a triple but was thrown out at third base.

In the third inning, nine-hole hitter Sarah Goodman got a leadoff base hit, and scored on a hit by Lloyd. Lloyd then scored on another RBI base hit by Mitchell.

In the first round against conference foe Little Rock Christian Academy, Jacksonville piled up 10 base hits and added six walks to win in four and a half innings. They got four hits and three walks in the bottom of the first for a quick 6-0 lead.

The inning was highlighted by a two-RBI double by Burrows that scored Richardson and Jones. Loyd also got a two-RBI base hit to finish off the inning.

Richardson got another hit and scored another run in the second inning when Emily Lovercheck connected with two outs.

Loyd and Keke Alcorn hit consecutive singles to start the third inning. Lloyd walked to load the bases. Richardson popped up to the pitcher for the first out, but Jones singled to drive in two runs. Burrows then hit a sacrifice grounder to give Jacksonville the mercy-rule inducing 10-run margin.

Jacksonville, 9-2, gets back to conference play this week. The Lady Devils, Sylvan Hills and North Pulaski all entered this week of league play with 4-0 conference records.

Jacksonville is scheduled to play Sylvan Hills today at Dupree Park. Look for details of that doubleheader in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.