JACKSON County beat East Jackson Thursday in one of the final regular season contests of the year and it remains to be seen if these two rivals’ paths cross anywhere in the postseason.
The Panthers (13-14-1, 5-2) picked up a 9-1 victory, leading 4-1 through six innings and breaking the game open with five runs in the top of the seventh. The Panthers pounded out 11 hits and were able to minimize the damage when East Jackson (6-10-1, 0-7) loaded the bases on two occasions.
“To be able to have that pressure on you against your rival school and have bases loaded and not make those mistakes, that was key for us,” Jackson County coach Chessie Laird said.
For the Panthers, Madi Pecht went 3-for-4 with three runs and RBI and two stolen bases and Mason Garland was 2-for-4 with four RBIs and a run. Shelton Kendrix also had a big night, going 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs. Others with hits were Andrea Ledford (2-for-3, RBI, double), Victoria Fontana (1-for-4, run) and Alyssa Dasher (1-for-4, RBI, run scored, stolen base).
Peyton Sorrells threw a complete game for the Panthers, facing 28 batters, giving up four hits, one run and two walks. She finished with four strikeouts.
Jackson County scored one run in the top of the first and three in the top of the third before putting the game away in the seventh.
East Jackson had its chances for big innings, too. The Eagles loaded the bases in the second and fourth innings but were only able to push one run across. That came in the fourth inning when Emily Turner’s sacrifice fly scored Taylor Nix.
“I don’t know the exact number, but I think we left 10 runners on base (Thursday),” East Jackson coach Brent Howell said. “That’s just the name of the game. When you get runners on, you’ve got to do the small things.”
Nix finished with two hits to lead East Jackson. Brittany Nolan and Beth Doss each had one hit.
Both teams will be off until the region tournament starts Oct. 1.
“It’s a long time to sit but we’ve got several girls that are hurt right now,” Howell said. “It’s going to give us some time to recuperate.”
Jackson County has a similar plan.
“I think we’re just going to use that time to rest,” said Laird, pointing to the team’s busy schedule this past week. “So we’re going to kind of use the week to wind down and go over the small things.”