Behind the excellent pitching of hurler Delana Meyer, the Grand Saline Indians blanked the Lady Jackets 4-0 on April 16. The contest featured crisp play by both teams and was decided by a handful of critical plays.
Each team put runners on in the first. Grand Saline batted the first pitch of the game back to Lady Jacket pitcher Anna Westberry, but the ball simply slipped out of her hand as she went to make the throw to first. Grand Saline repaid the favor in the bottom half as Emily Wiley reached on an error by the Indian second baseman. No scoring was recorded as a real battle of the lefthanders ensued between Westberry and Meyer.
Each pitcher recorded two strike outs in the second. Mineola’s Claudia Barriga slapped a single through the left side with two outs to record the home side’s first base hit. She was stranded.
The Lady Jackets put two Indian runners on base in the third with a free pass and a throwing error. Grand Saline took advantage. Sarah Elliott smacked a double down the right field line scoring one run. The throw from the outfield went to the plate. Mineola tried to get the second runner advancing to third, but the throw could not be handled and the runner came home. Grand Saline led 2-0.
Kaitlyn Burrell led off the bottom half with a two-strike single through the left side. With two outs, Lauren Simmons singled up the middle. Mineola could not bring them home.
The Indians threatened again in the third. A crisp single to left and a short infield looper which fell in a dead zone between third, short and the mound put two runners on. Westberry bore down and dispatched the Indians to end the threat.
From the fourth inning onward Grand Saline hurler Meyer relied on an excellent change-up. The use of the exact same throwing motion and significant velocity difference of the pitch handcuffed the Lady Jackets. In the fourth she threw the pitch for two strike outs, in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings for one strike-out each inning.
Grand Saline added two runs in the sixth when J’cea Melton drove a Westberry fastball to right center for a triple and collected two RBI.
Mineola’s best opportunity came in the bottom of the sixth. Simmons led off with a first pitch single to left. Isabella Tresca sharply lined a ball to center with such velocity that the centerfielder was able to force Simmons at second base. With two outs Breanna Wilmoth cracked a single to left, but the Lady Jacket rally never materialized.
The Lady Jackets put two runners on in the seventh, but could not string together enough offensive production to score.