May 7th, 2018

McGowan's slam leads Mercy to win over PRP

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor


McGowan's slam leads Mercy to win over PRP
Mercy's Jinhee Walsh takes a cut / photo by Conor Revell

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Mercy’s Taylor McGowan had never hit a grand slam in her softball career until Monday night.

Her grannie helped the 10th-ranked Jaguars take down host Pleasure Ridge Park 11-0 in a Sixth Region showdown.

“She has hit several home runs this year, but she has been a little selective this year with her pitches,” Mercy head coach Greg Meiners said. “We’ve wanted her to swing at a few more strikes. She’s an excellent first baseman, has great size, and a big presence at the plate. Hopefully this gives her confidence. We’ve talked a lot about being more aggressive at the plate.”

With Mercy (14-4) up 5-0 in the fifth inning and the bases loaded with nobody out, McGowan smashed a pitch from Panther pitcher Madison Hall and the ball sailed over the center-field fence.

“The first pitch she threw to me was kind of low and in the dirt,” McGowan said. “I didn’t really like it, but the umpire called it a strike anyway. I had two balls and then she threw one over the plate and I have never hit one before. That was pretty exciting.”

Lexi Ray was dominant in the circle and threw complete game three-hitter, struck out six, walked one, and plunked one.

“I was trying to get ahead in the count today and threw a lot of off-speed stuff,” Ray said. “I wanted to keep them off-balance as I worked through the lineup and keep them guessing.”

Hall tossed a complete game for PRP (10-9) and was roughed up for 11 runs, 11 hits, and walked four.

“We always want to score early,” Meiners said. “I say it all the time, if we score a few runs, we’re going to be really hard to beat. We have one of the best pitchers in the state. If we get more than a few runs, then I’m really confident.”

Ryan Ann Hobbs led the way for the Jaguars with three hits and drove in two runs while McGowan’s slam was her only hit.

“I think we’re trying to work on scoring more runs early,” McGowan said. “We will kind of fall back and won’t try to score until later in the game. That’s something we’re trying to work on. If we can do that, we’ll win a lot.”

Kennedy Higdon, Jill Vorreiter, and Ray each had one hit apiece and one RBI while Kayla Bauer, Mi Cole, Maddie Johnson, and Brooke Traylor each had one hit.

“We just wanted to get some runs on the board,” Higdon said. “We know if we get three runs for Lexy, we will be in pretty good shape.”

With the regular season coming to a close next weekend, perhaps this was what the doctor ordered as Mercy hasn’t played since losing to archrival and 10th-ranked Holy Cross this past Tuesday.

“I think we are in a pretty good spot right now,” Ray said. “We need to work on scoring runs like we did tonight so that we can put a lot of pressure on our opponents’ pitchers and defense.”

This weekend will prove to be a huge test as top-ranked Scott County and defending state champion and sixth-ranked Madisonville-North Hopkins come to town Saturday.

“We have a lot of competition for playing time on this team,” Meiners said. “We had four subs that got hits tonight. That’s great for their confidence and it makes our players that are up at the plate take notice and realize that they need to do their part. It’s really good because we want to believe and support each other. We have a lot of parts that can really help us.”

It’ll be a good test as the Jaguars hope to win their second consecutive Sixth Region title and sixth in seven years later this month. 

 

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