Denison loses pitchers' duel to start district play
As the Lady Yellow Jackets were clinging to a one-run lead after five innings, they had been doing the things needed to make the game’s lone run stand up.
Ashlinn Hamilton had been nearly perfect in the circle. An error by Wylie East led to Denison taking an early lead and the Lady Jackets had only committed one miscue of their own and then Hamilton cleaned up the mess.
But with four outs to go the Lady Raiders jumped in front and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Lady Jackets in the District 10-5A opener at Denison.
“We did not take care of business. That’s all there is to it,” Denison head coach Jeremy Green said. “Bottom of the lineup’s got to help the top of the lineup.”
Hamilton did not allow an earned run on four hits with 13 strikeouts and no walks, Hannah Grinspan was 3-for-4, Madison Carter was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and Katelynn Martinez singled, walked and scored for Denison (7-6, 0-1), which plays at Princeton on Wednesday.
Presliegh Duff got the late call to start for Wylie East (6-8, 1-0) after the original choice to pitch, Ashlyn Wood, suffered a knee injury after warming up but before the game began. Duff matched Hamilton and came out on top after allowing an unearned run on six hits with nine strikeouts and two walks.
Andrea Boling’s two-run single up the middle with two outs in the top of the sixth was the difference.
Kenzie Ramsey bunted to open the inning and first baseman Campbell Anderson made a diving attempt but couldn’t snag the infield hit. Audri Floyd followed with a long fly ball to center that was dropped by Grinspan.
Hamilton got a strikeout and a long fly to right off the bat of Abby Hollingsworth, which allowed Ramsey to tag up and head to third. Floyd then stole second and both scored on Boling’s hit.
Hamilton retired the first 12 Lady Raiders she faced and sent down eight of them on strikeouts. The only ball in this stretch to reach the outfield was sent into right center by Emma Halligan but Martinez made a diving grab for the second out of the fourth inning.
An error to lead off the fifth allowed Boling to reach and end the perfect game bid. A one-out single through the left side from Jaylie Sibley ended the no-hitter.
Rylee Epperson sacrificed the runners over before Hamilton’s 10th strikeout kept the Lady Jackets in the lead.
“She did everything she was asked to do,” Green said about the junior right-hander. “You couldn’t ask for much more. She took care of business in the circle.”
The Lady Jackets put at least the tying run on base in each of the final two innings.
Denison opened the sixth with a Madison Carter double into the right-field corner and then Martinez worked a full-count walk. But the Lady Jackets couldn’t push across either runner.
Maddison Luper flew out to shallow left and both Camryn Nixon and Bella Palmer struck out as pinch-hitters.
In the seventh, Grinspan kept the inning alive with a two-out infield single to short before Hamilton flew out to right to end the game.
Kiki Carter had led off the inning with a deep liner to center which looked like it would be at least be a double off the wall but Floyd raced to her right and ran it down before it could sail over her head.
“That center fielder won them the game,” Green said. “She made some great plays out there.”
Denison’s lone run came in the bottom of the second. Martinez singled to left with one out and Luper followed with a walk. With two outs, Autumn Mitchell laid down a bunt and catcher Breana Villegas threw over the head of second baseman Epperson covering at first which allowed Martinez to race home for the 1-0 lead.
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