Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
The first six Jefferson City batters to come to the plate Monday were seniors, and they didn’t waste any time ensuring a Senior Night win.
In fact, the three runs manufactured in those six at-bats were more than enough to win as the Lady Jays went on to a 9-1 victory against Sedalia Smith-Cotton at 63 Diamonds.
Jefferson City jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, getting six hits and batting around.
“We kind of went with that (lineup) with Senior Night, just to kind of see what happened,” coach Zac Miller said. “It was kind of fun. The hits were contagious in the first inning, and they rolled with that.”
Alyssa Schulte and Taylor Dey reached on consecutive singles before fellow senior Emily Williams sent them home with a two-run double to center. Williams finished the day with three hits and two runs.
“She looked real good tonight, it looked like her timing was down,” Miller said. “Hitting the ball up front, hitting the ball up the middle. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Senior right fielder Megan Newton drove in Williams with a double of her own, and Alexis Gilliland plated Newton with a single. Gilliland took second on the throw home and third on a wild pitch, and Ashton Glass drove her in with a double.
The Lady Jays were never in danger of losing their five-run cushion with a five-hit, eight strikeout performance in the circle from Schulte. She walked three, but managed to strand eight runners.
“I think the zone seemed to be pretty tight tonight, wasn’t getting a lot of corners,” Miller said. “That’s how it is. It’s a game of adjustments. You’ve got to make your adjustments as you go, and we talked about, ‘Hey, just attack that zone, working for the lead, fill it up, attack that zone and go from there.’”
The Lady Tigers actually outhit Jefferson City from the second through sixth innings, four to three. Smith-Cotton scored its lone run in the fourth on two singles and two wild pitches.
Lady Tigers pitcher Emma Honn “had some good velocity,” according to Miller.
“We were putting some good swings on the balls, and I tell you what, they made some nice plays,” Miller said. “It seemed like we had a lot of hard-hit balls hit right to people at times, and just couldn’t break it open.”
The Lady Tigers’ run came an inning after Ashton Glass scored on a single, an error and a wild pitch to give the Lady Jays a 6-0 lead.
The Lady Jays’ offense reemerged in the sixth when Lauren Neubauer hit a double and scored on an error before Hannah Hirschvogel drove in Dey, who reached on the error, and Williams, who had singled.
Jefferson City improved to 13-7 with the win.
“I think our offense kind went on a little lull in the middle of the season, and lately it seems like the offense has been coming back around,” Miller said. “Kids are finding their swings, getting their timing back down, and tonight was a lot of fun. Got a lot of hard-hit balls from a lot of different kids.”
On Saturday, the Lady Jays wrapped up the Kewpie Classic in Columbia by going 1-1, finishing in third place.
Jefferson City fell 5-3 to Troy in their first game of the day.
Gilliland was 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI, and Neubauer had a hit and one RBI. Schulte pitched five innings, allowing five runs (three earned) while walking two and and striking out seven.
The Lady Jays then beat Parkway South 9-2 in the third-place contest.
Gilliland had three hits, three RBI and two runs scored, and Dey had two hits, including a double, to go with two runs and one RBI. Williams had one hit and two RBI, Katy Tambke had one hit and scored two runs, Schulte had a hit and a run, and Neubauer had a hit and one RBI.
Mychael Jett allowed two earned runs on four hits, one walk and four strikeouts in seven innings.