Lady Jaguars display offensive fire power
It was a reversal of fortune for the Mill Valley varsity softball team in its season opener Friday night against Anderson County.
After a sparkling 12-0 shutout of their non-league foe, the Lady Jaguars were stunned in the nightcap, losing 3-2.
"To be honest, we really played a solid first game," Mill Valley head coach Patrick Sullivan said. "We just didn't come out with the same focus like we did in the first game. We just didn't make good decisions on the field."
Coming off a great season last year, senior pitcher Ashley Perkins tossed a one-hit gem in the opener, striking out nine batters in five innings.
Along with the solid pitching was a strong show of offense as the Jaguars pounded out 18 hits.
Mill Valley seniors Amy Siler, Kristy McCluer, junior Brooke Woolery and sophomore Mandy Heinrich led the attack with three hits each.
Woolery stroked a pair of doubles, while McCluer knocked in three RBIs.
Freshman first baseman Sarah Luschen provided some excitement with a two-run homer over the right-field fence.
The Lady Jaguars opened the game with three runs in the first inning, then added four runs in the third and five runs in the fourth.
The tide turned a bit for the Jaguars in the second game. The girls struggled at the plate, mustering only four hits.
The coach said the girls seemed to lose their concentration a bit after the first game. The lapse could not have come at a worse time, as Anderson County put forth a new, tougher pitcher.
"We just had several mental lapses," Peck said. "It was the small things that hurt us. We also faced better pitching in the second game."
Both teams were scoreless coming into the fifth inning. Mill Valley was the first to score.
Heinrich and Shannon Keith both crossed the plate to give the Jaguars a 2-0 lead.
Sophomore pitcher Ashley Thurmond went strong in the nightcap, throwing a one-hitter through five innings before giving way to Perkins.
After sitting out for a few innings, the senior struggled with her control, allowing two walks and then hitting a batter with the bases loaded, which turned out to be the winning run.
Peck noted that he wanted to get a glimpse of the future early, before going with Perkins for doubleheaders later in the season. He stressed, however, that Perkins would be at the mound when she was needed.
"The biggest thing is that we have another solid pitcher and we wanted to give Ashley (Thurmond) some work," Peck said. "The bottom line though is that Ashley is going to get the ball when she wants it. She's got the resume to do well."
The Lady Jaguars will hit the road on Thursday, April 5 for a doubleheader with Perry-Lecompton, beginning at 4 p.m.