By Jeffery Armstrong
The Jonesboro Lady Cardinals softball team started strong, but faded a bit during the first round of the Area 2-AAAAA tournament Monday evening at the Lovejoy softball fields.
Jonesboro advanced in the tournament by defeating Northside-Warner Robins 3-1, but missed out on automatically qualifying for the state AAAAA sectionals with a 1-0 loss to the Stockbridge Lady Tigers in the late game. Stockbridge qualifies for the state sectionals.
Jonesboro now drops to the loser's bracket and will face either Houston County or Westside-Macon today at 4:30 p.m. at Field 7.
The Stockbridge/Jonesboro game was a pitcher's duel, with hurlers Heather Lowry going for Jonesboro and Terese Gober throwing for Stockbridge. The score was knotted at zero for five innings before Stockbridge scored a run off an error.
"I knew this game was going to come down to whoever let their guard down first," said Jonesboro head coach Jeanine Conkle. "Both pitchers threw very well n we just couldn't hit the ball. I do feel that the girls will come out fired up and ready to play the next one."
Gober held the Cardinals hitless until her teammates finally dented the scoreboard in the sixth inning. Jennifer Corbin, who went 3-for-3, singled, stole second and reached third on a passed ball for the Tigers. Megan Throckmorton then hit a bouncer to short, but Jonesboro infielder Brittany Carnes let her reach first in order to stop Corbin from coming home. Drue Longo then hit a low line drive to Carnes, who couldn't hang on to the ball, allowing Corbin to score the game's only run.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Lowry got out of the jam by striking out Tara Gober to end the inning.
Lowry pitched all six innings, giving up four hits while striking out nine and walking two. Gober pitched a no-hitter, walking none and striking out 11.
Corbin was happy with her performance.
"I feel good about how I hit the ball tonight n I've been waiting all season for a game like this," she said. "Lowry's such a tough pitcher. I was more selective at the plate because this was a big game for us."
In game one, Jonesboro scored three first-inning runs and that held up as the Lady Cardinals defeated Northside 3-1. Lowry pitched a three-hitter with 14 strikeouts and also had two hits, including a double. Carnes also had two hits for the Cardinals against Northside.