Slocum Defeats Chester, 9-0

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

DOUGLASS – The defending Class A State Champion Slocum Lady Mustangs continued their quest to repeat as they traveled to Douglass on Thursday, May 10 to begin a best-of-three series against the Chester Lady Jackets in the Regional Semi-Finals.

The Lady Mustangs were the home team and took the field first with Jalyn Fletcher in the pitcher’s circle. Fletcher, last year’s Class A State Tournament MVP, made quick work of the Chester line-up as she struck out Chianne Chandler, coaxed a groundout from Faith Loughner and then caught Taylor Handley swinging at strike three to close out the Lady Jackets’ half of the inning.

When Slocum came in from the field, they wasted little time in taking an early lead. Fletcher led off with a triple and after Courtney January grounded out, Jessi Ives hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in Fletcher from third. Taylor Clark struck out to end the inning but the Lady Mustangs had seized a lead they would not relinquish.

As the second inning got underway, Josey Sturrock laced a single into left field. Belle Gilzow was up next and she grounded back to the mound. Fletcher fielded the ball cleanly, turned and fired to Jessi Ives, covering second base, for the first out. Ives threw to Kara Cumby at first to complete the 1-6-3 double play. Fletcher then struck out Meagan Clarke to retire the side.

The Lady Mustangs padded their lead with two more runs in the bottom of the second. Briley Evers led off with a single and moved to third on Cumby’s groundout. Shelby Bowman was up next and reached first safely on a strike three wild pitch. On the play, Evers scampered home for the game’s second run.

It didn’t take long for the Lady Mustangs to go up 3-0 as the very next pitch from Sturrock was deposited into left field by Bella McNeill. Bowman, running on the pitch, motored around the bases to cross the dish and put Slocum ahead by three.

Sturrock regrouped after Bowman’s score and got both Laney Lasiter along with Fletcher to ground out on consecutive pitches to end the inning.

After Fletcher dispatched the Lady Jackets in the third, the Lady Mustangs added another run to their lead. January grounded out to open the bottom half of the inning but then Ives drew a walk. Clark was up next and she ripped a double into left field, scoring Ives and pushing the Slocum lead to 4-0.

Sturrock managed to calm herself and after a walk to Evers, she managed to get Cumby as well as Bowman to ground out to help keep the Lady Jackets within striking distance.

Fletcher had another easy inning in the top of the fourth as she got a ground out from Loughner, struck out Handley, gave up a single to Sturrock and got Gilzow to swing at strike three.

In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Mustangs added yet another run to make the score 5-0. McNeill led off with a single up the middle and moved to second on Lasiter’s groundout. She moved to third on a groundout from Fletcher and came around to score when January smoked a pitch into center for a single.

Ives hit into a fielder’s choice, but it was obvious the consistent run production from Slocum had sapped the Lady Jackets.

After a quiet fifth, the Lady Mustangs exploded for four runs in the bottom of the sixth – highlighted by  a two-run HR from Clark – to make the score 9-0 as they coasted to a game one victory.

Fletcher picked up the win for Slocum with seven innings of work. She didn’t allow a run, gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked two.

Sturrock took the loss for Chester. She gave up nine runs on nine hits. She also struck out three and walked three.

At the plate, the Lady Mustangs were led by Taylor Clark and Bella McNeill. Clark was 2-3 with three RBI – including the two-run HR – and a run scored. McNeill was 3-4 at the dish with two runs scored and one RBI.

Josey Sturrock led the Lady Tigers at the plate as she was 2-3.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.