JACKSON County again paired good pitching with timely hitting to earn a win and move that much closer to a subregion title.
Behind a complete game from Haley Shinall and a late, clutch RBI double from Madison Whitmire, the Panthers (22-5, 9-1) beat East Jackson 2-0 Tuesday on the road as they hope to wrap-up the 8-AA South title this week.
Jackson County leads the subregion with a 9-1 mark with two games left. North Oconee — which fell to Jefferson Tuesday — now has two losses in region play. The Panthers play the Titans Thursday in Watkinsville followed by a Saturday road trip to Oglethorpe County.
Jackson County could clinch the title with a win Thursday at North Oconee. The Panthers are embracing the importance of this final stretch.
“I don’t think we could ask for a better end of the season because of everything the girls have accomplished,”
Panther coach Chessie Laird said. “This season has been amazing — I think 10 times better than anyone thought it would be.”
The winner of the subregion receives a no. 1 seed and a first-round bye for next week’s Region 8-AA tournament.
Jackson County is definitely in good shape after Tuesday night.
Shinall threw another shutout, allowing two hits and striking out six. She recently recorded her 100th strikeout of the season.
“She was lights-out tonight,” Laird said. “I think she was just really focused and determined.”
The coach noted that the players behind Shinall in the field equaled that intensity.
“Our defense was awesome today,” Laird said.
Jackson County broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth when Alyssa Dasher singled with two outs and was brought home by an RBI double from Whitmire.
“It was really exciting and a really good job by Alyssa Dasher, a freshman actually, to come in and get that done,” Laird said of Dasher’s hit which started the inning.
Dasher, Whitmire, Shinall and Ashleigh Lance all went 1-for-3.
Panthers go 4-2 at Brookwood Invitational
JACKSON County went 4-2 in its final non-region tournament of the season, beating South Gwinnett (3-2), Whitewater (5-2), Parkview (8-5) and Ola (7-4) and losing to Kennesaw Mountain (8-0) and Houston County (3-1) in the Brookwood Invitational.
Haley Shinall starred at both the plate and in the pitcher’s circle, going 7-for-16 with six RBIs and three runs while recording two victories and striking out 20 batters over the course of the tournament.
Madison Whitmire had a huge tournament offensively, going 5-for-15, scoring five runs, driving home seven runs and homering three more times, including a grand slam. Also leading Jackson County offensively were Victoria Woods (6-for-11, two runs, three RBIs) and Victoria Fontana (4-for-20, two runs, three RBIs).
Kortnee Satterfield picked up two wins and recorded six strikeouts.
Jackson County opened the tournament with an 8-0 loss to Kennesaw Mountain.
Macey Latty, Alyssa Dasher, Fontana and Shinall all recorded one hit each. Satterfield took the loss, recording three strikeouts and two walks.
The Panthers answered with a 3-2 win over South Gwinnett during which Shinall and Dasher both went 1-for-2 with a double and RBI. Shinall threw a one-hitter, striking out 10.
Jackson County then beat Whitewater 5-2. Several Panthers had big offensive days, including Shinall (2-for-3, run, RBI), Victoria Woods (2-for-3, RBI) and Jessica Baker (2-for-3, two runs). Fontana, Andrea Ledford and Dasher all had one RBI. Satterfield picked up the win pitching six innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out three.
Jackson County reached the 20-win mark for the year by beating Parkview 8-5. Offensive leaders were Shinall (1-for-2, run, three RBIs), Whitmire (2-for-3, one homerun, two RBIs, two runs), Fontana (2-for-4, two RBIs, one run), Ledford (1-for-3, RBI, run). Shinall picked up the win, allowing four earned runs and striking out six.
The Panthers picked up their final win of the tournament by beating Ola 7-4.
Whitmire had a monster game, going 2-for-3, scoring two runs, homering twice, hitting one grand slam and driving home five runs. Woods went (2-for-3, run, RBI), Shinall (2-for-3, run). Satterfield picked up the win.
Jackson County lost its final game, falling to Houston County 3-1. Jessica Baker went 2-3 with with an RBI. Shinall took the loss, allowing one run and striking out four.