May 15th, 2018

Bulldogs tame Jaguars

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Bulldogs tame Jaguars
Mercy's Lexy Wright pops up a pitch from Male's Jaelyn Sanders / photo by Conor Revell

Mercy’s 11th-ranked softball team struggled to make plays in the field and at the plate falling 8-1 to visiting No. 3 Male Tuesday night.

“We made a couple of mistakes, but Male is a really good team,” Mercy head coach Greg Meiners said. “I talked to the kids after the game and I tried to tell them that they were satisfied Saturday only losing 3-1 to Scott County. I told them it should not be that way. This program has a long proud tradition. We are not supposed to be coming in second in these games and the kids have to believe that. It may not count at the end of the year, but it counts for your fight, and I’m very disappointed tonight.”

The Bulldogs (24-4) scored eight unanswered runs after falling behind 1-0 in the first inning.

“I was pleased with what our offense did considering they only lost 3-1 to Scott County and we play them later this week,” Male head coach Josh Bloomer said. “I think Mercy has a really good chance of going far in the Sixth Region. It was a really good game by two really good teams.”

Jaelyn Sanders started in the circle for Male and allowed one run, three hits, struck out seven, and walked one in five innings.

Kelsie Houchens tossed two innings and gave up one hit, struck out two, and walked one.

“We wanted to be aggressive and try to swing,” Meiners said. “They pitch a lot of strikes and expand the strike zone. Jaelyn is a good pitcher. When you get strikes, you have to start taking chances, and try to take advantage.”

Lexi Ray threw a complete game for Mercy and allowed eight runs, 10 hits, struck out 10, and walked two.

“She’s just a really good pitcher,” Bloomer said. “You have to hunt for a part of the plate. We were looking to put a little pressure on them with some small ball and got fortunate that Mercy made a couple of errors. We wanted to get Lexi’s pitch count up a bit.”  

Mia Cole walked, stole second, and scored on Ryan Ann Hobbs single for the lone Jaguar (17-6) run.

“I have had a lot of confidence lately at the plate,” Hobbs said.

Male scored two runs in the second inning, one run in the fourth, one run in the six, and blew it open in the seventh.

Jadyn Thompson singled and stole second, Lily Ackerman laid down a bunt and Mercy pitcher Lexi Ray makes a bad throw to first base allowing Thompson to tie the game at one in the second. Ackerman scored on Morgan Zuege’s grounder to make it 2-1, a lead that was never relinquished.

Thompson doubled, stole third, and went home on a bad throw to third by catcher Kennedy Higdon to put the Bulldogs up 3-1 in the fourth.

Sam Walker’s RBI single gave Male a 4-1 lead in the fifth.

Jasmine Miller’s 2-run bomb and Jaelyn Sanders 2-RBI base hit gave the Bulldogs a four-run seventh to ice the game.

“I think we really calmed down when we got the lead,” Bloomer said. “Jae threw really well. Late in the game Lexi Ray got tired and Jasmine and Jae had a couple of hard hit balls. You have to find your time. For us, you know the hits are going to come and when you get the opportunity to barrel some balls, you’re going to make the most of it.”

Hobbs led the Jaguar offense with two hits and an RBI.

“They were throwing everything,” Hobbs said. “They were throwing inside and outside. I was just waiting for my pitch.”

Maddy Johnson and Lexi Ray each had one hit.

“Ryan Ann has had a good year,” Meiners said. “She’s disciplined at the plate. She really good with pitch selection. It’s hard to pitch to her with the things that she’s strong with. A lot of our kids struggle with certain pitches, but Ryan Ann, it’s hard to find a way to figure out a way to get her out.”

The Jaguars defense made five errors.

“I think name does affect the team some,” Meiners said. “I talked to the girls before the game about how many times we beat Male in a row back in the day before Bloomer went over there five years ago. He has a lot going and his kids are confident and that puts a lot of pressure on the other team. But, if you’re a fundamentally sound ballplayer, you will make the routine play. Some weren’t, but when we got behind, we let up our energy, and a good team will make you pay.” 


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