April 10th, 2018

Jaguars take down Rockets

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Jaguars take down Rockets
Assumption's Braxton Downs strikes out looking / photo by Conor Revell

Mercy head softball coach Greg Meiners preaches to his team daily about giving ace Lexi Ray at least three runs to work with.

Ray threw a gem and the sixth-ranked Jaguars scored early and often and hung onto defeat host Assumption 5-3 Tuesday night.

“I think it’s kind of believable that if we can score three runs when Lexi pitches, that we have a good chance to win,” Meiners said. “I’m a big believer in scoring runs when you get the opportunity. I was happy that we scored runs in the first four innings. When you play the game the way it’s supposed to be played, good things happen, they understand what they’re supposed to do, and today they were on it.”

The Jaguars (5-1) led 5-0 going into the bottom of the seventh, but the Rockets (7-3) scored three runs to make it interesting and had the game winning run at the plate before Ray got a groundout to end the game.

“The thing about our team is that we have a huge junior class,” Assumption head coach Lisa Pinkston said. “You can’t count out our team. We’re going to fight to the end. I am proud that our team did that tonight. We fell into a hole at the beginning of the game and it puts a lot more on your offense when that happens. As the game continued, we were able to make adjustments, and started to make contact.”

Ray tossed a complete game and allowed three runs; one earned, five hits, struck out nine, and walked three.

The UT Martin signee only allowed two hits in the first six innings.

“I was mixing a lot of off-speed pitches and tried to make them chase when I got ahead,” Ray said. “I was throwing a lot of in and outs and going up and down.”

Mercy scored two runs in the first, one run in the second, one run in the third, and one run in the fourth to grab a 5-0 lead.

Assumption rallied in the seventh when Madison Loechle doubled and Leah Raeber had a bunt single to put runners on the corners with one out.

Maggie Metzger singled home Loechle.

“I knew that we really needed the momentum,” Metzger said. “It was our last chance to score. In my head I knew I had to get the job done. I had confidence and I knew that she was going to come at me early because she’s a good pitcher. I was waiting for that first or second pitch strike and I jumped on it.”

Jordan Ridge walked to load the bases, Braxton Downs hit a chopper that was mishandled by the Jaguars shortstop Jinhee Walsh and allowed Metzger and Ridge to score.

Walsh moved to shortstop this season as senior Lexy Wright has moved to second after starting at short the past three seasons.

“We have been working on some things,” Meiners said. “We like Lexy (Wright) to get a lot of balls to the right side. She made some nice plays in shallow right field. Jinhee is learning, it’s a long season, and we have confidence that we’re going to figure this out.”

Ray got Olivia Pastin to ground out to end the game.

Freshman Olivia Casey started in the circle for the Rockets and tossed a complete game allowing five runs, four hits, struck out one, walked one, and plunked two.

“I love the fight that Olivia has,” Pinkston said. “She’s going to throw the majority of our innings for us this year. She’s a competitor. She’s like a little bull in the arena. She’s going to do a good job of keeping batters off balance.”

Madison Dykes led the Mercy offense and went 1 for 3 with a solo homer that was a line drive shot to left field in the third inning and had a sacrifice fly that scored a run in the first inning.

“I saw that it was a meatball down the middle,” Dykes said of her home run. “I haven’t been hitting good this season so I just wanted to relax and swing at it. My coach told me to drive the ball where I wanted it to go and that’s where it went. I thought it was a line drive but it carried.”

It was Dykes first home run of the season.

“When I saw it get off the bat, I knew it was going to carry, it was a matter of whether or not it was going to be high enough,” Meiners said. “She’s an aggressive hitter, sometimes a little bit too aggressive. She gets excited and people kind of watch her and some know how to pitch to her and you have to calm her down. She has a lot of power though.”

Sophomore Maddy Johnson was 1 for 2 and had an RBI double in the first inning. Lexy Wright and Mia Cole both went for 1 for 3.

“We were trying to take good pitches and not swing at balls outside of the zone,” Ray said. “We wanted to get ahead of the count early. We knew if we did that we were going to have a good chance to win this game.”

Metzger led the Rocket offense and 2 for 4 with an RBI. Loechle and Raeber both were 1 for 3, and Downs went 1 for 4.

The Jaguars made one error while Assumption had three errors.  


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