The Jackson Lady Devils won two nail-biters at home against Region 2-AAA foes Upson-Lee and Crisp County last week, upping their region record to 3-0. The Lady Devils went 3-1 during the week, beating Locust Grove in Locust Grove on Saturday, 5-3, but losing to Thomas County Central, 8-0. Jackson is 8-3 on the season.
Coach Nicole Bailey said it was a good week.
“We’re very proud of the girls and the way they’ve played this week,” Bailey said. “Right now going into the region we’re undefeated and it’s a good feeling for us.”
Caleigh Kirby proved to be the clutch hitter for the Lady Devils. Against Upson-Lee on Sept. 7, she delivered the game-winning single.
:We hit the ball, they hit the ball, and we played really well defensively,” Bailey said. “There was a runner on third and Caleigh Kirby got a base hit.”
Crisp Co. 4
The Lady Devils took an early 3-0 lead, but the Lady Cougars scored 2 runs in the top of the 5th and took the lead with 2 more runs in the top of the 7th. But the Jackson girls kept their composure and once again Kirby had the winning hit, plating the winning run in the bottom of the inning.
“This is playoff-type ball right here,” Bailey said This is what we’ve been working for all year, keeping our kids composed and doing the things that we’re supposed to do at the right times. It was the same scenario as Tuesday’s game. Kirby had the game-winning hit in both games.”
Mackenzie North started on the mound for Jackson and pitched shutout ball for the first four innings.
The Lady Devils scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. With one out, Sham Dupree doubled to center, then Tenison Myricks was hit by a pitch and sent to 1st. North singled to center to score Dupree. On the throw home, Myricks went to 3rd base and North to 2nd. Myricks then scored the second run on a wild pitch and Jackson led 2-0.
The Lady Devils added a run in the bottom of the third. Kirby hit a slow grounder between 3rd and short. The third baseman dove and stopped the ball, but Kirby beat the throw to first. Memphis Sweat then beat out a bunt. Kirby and Sweat advanced to 3rd and 2nd on a passed ball, then Kirby scored on a wild pitch to give Jackson a 3-0 lead.
North ran into trouble in the top of the 5th, giving up two singles. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd, another single plated two, cutting the lead to 3-2. Bailey made a pitching change, bringing Myricks in. She struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
Myricks retired the first two batters in the top of the 7th, but then ran into trouble, giving up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases. With the base runners on the move, the next batter hit a swinging bunt. The throw to 1st was late and the tying run scored. Jackson caught the Lady Cougars in a rundown, but the go-ahead run scored and everyone was safe.
Down 4-3 in the bottom of the 7th, the Lady Devils didn’t give up. With one out, Macey Batchelor, Katelyn Flanders and Layla Watts all singled to load the bases. Kirby then laced a walk off single to center, scoring Batchelor to tie the game and Flanders with the winning run.
North went 41/3 innings, giving up 2 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 3. Myricks went 2 2/3 innings, giving up 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 5.
At the plate, Kirby was 2-3 with 2 RBI and scored once. North was 2-4 with 1 RBI. Batchelo was 2-4, Watts was 2-3, Dupree was 1-3 and scored a run, and Sweat was 1-3. Myricks was 0-2 and scored a run.
Jackson traveled to Locust Grove on Saturday to play a double-header, taking on Locust Grove at 9 a.m. and Thomas County Central at 11 a.m. The Lady Devils defeated Locust Grove 5-3, but lost to Thomas, 8-0.
Jackson has three games in a row this week, hosting Pike County in a region contest on Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m., hosting Jasper County in a non-region game on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m., and traveling to Macon to take on Central in a region bout on Sept. 16 at 5 p.m.