The Mineola Lady Jackets travelled to Alba-Golden and defeated the Lady Panthers 4-1 April 12. Mineola rode the arm of left-hander Anna Westberry, who held Alba-Golden to four hits while striking out seven and issuing only one free pass.
The Lady Panthers got on the board in the first. Centerfielder Ashlyn Rodgers laced a full-count pitch to center to lead off for the home team. A bunt pushed her down to second, and she scored on a Reese Michael’s double down the left field line.
In the second, Mineola loaded the bases on two infield hits and a base on balls but could not bring anyone home. They did not leave baserunners stranded in the third.
Lauren Simmons got pinged leading off the third. Isabella Tresca and Anna Westberry belted singles up the middle and Mineola tied the game. With runners on second and third, Breanna Wilmouth laid down a bunt. Tresca chose just the right moment to break for home when the play went to first. She scored.
Claudia Barriga repeated the whole process. Again, the baserunner, this time Westberry, played the break for the plate exactly right. Mineola led 3-1.
Neither side put more than one baserunner on over the next the next three innings. Mineola’s Westberry almost added a run with one swing of her bat in the fifth, but her hit faded and bounced to the fence. She ended up with a standing double and was stranded.
Mineola added a run in the top of the seventh. Tresca reached on a fielding error, and eventually scored on a Barriga single to right. With one on and two out Emily Wiley stepped to the plate and smashed a hot liner to short center. The ball never got more than 15 feet off the ground. No one was expecting centerfielder Rodgers to make a play on the ball. She did. With four explosive strides she made a catch off the top of the grass on Wiley’s liner. It was the play of the night up to that point.
In the bottom of the seventh Kalli Wright hit a rocket to deep centerfield. Lady Jacket centerfielder Caidyn Anderson took two mistaken steps in, before realizing the ball was destined to go over her head. She began to back-peddle and in the last possible second made a back-handed stab at the ball. It was a great recovery and a highlight reel catch.
Those watching were rewarded with a quality softball game and two defensive gems as a bonus.