Deciding contest to be played Sat. at 2 p.m. at JCCHS
USING A six-run sixth inning, Jackson County won game two of the Region 8-AAA softball championship series over Franklin County, 12-4, Thursday to force a game three (click here for photos). The rubber game is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Jackson County Comprehensive High School.
Playing at West Jackson Park, Jackson County (16-15-1) dropped the series opener 3-2, but rebounded in the night cap by bringing 11 batters to the plate in the sixth inning, pounding out seven hits and pushing across six runs to break a 3-3 tie.
Jackson County got RBIs from Andrea Ledford, Alyssa Dasher, Madi Pecht, Victoria Fontana, Shelton Kendrix and Jessica Baker in the pivotal inning.
“We would be very happy if we could do that consistently throughout the whole game,” Jackson County coach Chessie Laird said. “It would have been very easy for us to give up in that second game. For them to come back and really dig deep and get the bats going … to be able to do that in a pressure situation, that’s a good job for our girls.”
Up 9-3 in the top seventh, Jackson County added three more insurance scores, highlighted by a two-run single by Shelton Kendrix.
Jessica Baker threw six innings for the victory. Kendrix pitched an inning of relief in the seventh inning.
Now only one victory stands between the Panthers and the coveted Region 8-AAA trophy.
“It’s a big game,” Laird said. “To go against Franklin, they’re a very good team. I think we kind of mirror each other with our quickness and things like that … It’s going to be a really good game. I couldn’t be happier that we’re playing for it.”
Jackson County won two games Wednesday to open the region tournament and secure its spot in the 8-AAA finals series with Franklin County (22-9).
The Panthers, however, got behind early in the opening game Thursday as the Lions got an RBI single and RBI double — both with two outs — in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Franklin County added an insurance run in the top of the third to take a 3-0 edge.
Jackson County didn’t get on the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth when two runs scored off an infield hit from Fontana. The Panthers had baserunners in the sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t push across the tying run.
Following the close loss in the opener, Jackson County came out swinging in game two.
The Panthers scored three times in the top of the second inning to jump out to an early lead. Victoria Woods provided the big hit with a two-run double.
Jackson County surrendered a run in the second and two more in the third before breaking the game open in the sixth with its biggest inning of the region tournament.
The Panthers certainly turned around their offensive fortunes in Thursday’s doubleheader.
After being shutout over the first four innings of game one, Jackson County ended up scoring 14 runs over the last 10 innings of play combined.
While Jackson County revisited some of its offense struggles in the first game, the Panthers eventually atoned for those problems in big-time fashion.
“They did a great job of coming back and stepping up in the second game and not rolling over, so I’m proud of them,” Laird said.
See the Oct. 10 issue of The Jackson Herald for more coverage.