5/16/2018 4:12:00 AM DISTRICT SEMIFINAL: Ironladies held to three hits in 3-0 loss to New Lexington
Jackson's Raylene Hammond slides into second base for a double in the seventh inning against New Lexington on Tuesday in a Division II district semifinal at Ohio University. (Photo By Red Thompson, Jr.)
ATHENS - The top-seeded Jackson Ironladies struggled to get anything going offensively, falling to No. 4 New Lexington, 3-0, in the semifinal round of the Division II District Tournament at Ohio University on Tuesday.
New Lexington pitcher Bailey Harris, who didn't give up a walk and struck out nine, held the Ironladies to just three hits in the complete game shutout.
"Their pitcher was as good or better than anyone we've faced all year," said Jackson head coach Shane Wolford. "We faced probably three pitchers this year that threw a lot like the Harris girl and we didn't do well against any of them.
"We hit the ball well all year, but you saw that she was on tonight."
For Jackson, Taylor Evans held the Lady Panthers to just three runs, while giving up just five hits on the day. Evans struck out seven and left five runners on base, but the right-handed freshman got no run support in the loss.
New Lexington broke the scoreless tie with a run in the top of the second inning, as Chloe Gilligan drove in Brooke Lehman on a groundball out back to the pitching circle.
In the top of the third, the Lady Panthers extended their lead to 2-0 when Quincee McCord lined a double with two outs into right-center field to plate Layona Davis.
After Evans retired the New Lexington side in order in the fourth, the Lady Panthers added a run in the fifth when Dennadee Dillon reached on an error and caught the Ironladies defense sleeping to advance to second on the play. She stole third on the next pitch and scored on a groundout by Davis for a 3-0 lead.
"She caught us asleep, and then she stole third and was able to score. I feel like we gave them two runs tonight," Wolford said. "If you don't score any runs, it doesn't really matter anyhow.
"Two years ago when we were here, I told them there is something about playing on this field. It apparently doesn't like us because we didn't score any runs then either."
Evans allowed only one hit the rest of the way on a double by Morgan Brown in the sixth.
Jackson's best chance of scoring came in the bottom of the seventh inning when Raylene Hammond lined a double with two outs into the left-center field gap. The threat, however, ended when Jordan Banks flew out to center to end the game.
Sydney Humphreys, Mariah Ridgeway, and Hammond had the only three hits for Jackson.
It marked the final game in a Jackson uniform for seniors Haley Patterson, Ridgeway, Hammond, and Banks.
"I coached football for many years and I was around a lot of kids who worked hard. I would put these four girls up there with any football players I've coached in terms of work ethic," said Wolford. "These seniors have worked their tails off to get where they are and it is really a shame to see their careers end like this.
"They all started for me when I took the program over three years ago and they turned it all around."
Despite the loss, the Ironladies had a very good season, finishing with an overall record of 19-4 and hit a career-high 52 home runs with the four seniors being responsible for 40 of them.