By Jeffery Armstrong
Sometimes teams can play pretty well but still lose to a team that's on fire.
Tuesday evening was one of those times for the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals' softball team. The Cardinals dropped a 1-0 decision on the road to the Eagle's Landing Lady Golden Eagles, winners of eight straight games.
Eagle's Landing right fielder Sheree Knowles laid down a suicide squeeze bunt in the fifth inning that drove home Allison Harris with the winning run. She managed to get the bunt down despite having two strikes.
Terri Mesko was the winning pitcher, throwing a complete-game no-hitter with 12 strikeouts and no walks. She also started a crucial double play in the top of the seventh inning to help the team achieve the win.
Jonesboro's Heather Lowry was the hard-luck loser, pitching six innings, allowing one hit, one unearned run and striking out 14 with no walks.
"Heather pitched her heart out, but we let down for a minute and it cost us. You can't do that with this team," said Jonesboro head coach Jeanine Conkle. "We have been hitting the ball well lately; tonight we just didn't hit the ball at all."
The game was a pitcher's duel, with neither team getting a hit for the first three innings. In fact, Lowry struck out seven straight Eagles before senior shortstop Allison Cantrell singled to short in the bottom of the fourth, the only hit of the game.
Both teams played made two errors, but it was Jonesboro's second error that came back to haunt the Cardinals in that critical fifth inning.
Eagle's Landing's Harris bunted to first and Lowry picked up the ball. Jonesboro first baseman Alarie Smith also charged the ball and almost ran into Lowry. Lowry then threw high to first and the ball got past Donisha Harrison for a two-base error. Harris then stole third and was in position for Knowles' squeeze bunt.
Brittany Carnes reached base in the Jonesboro seventh due to a Tiffany Tanner throwing error, but Mesko and Cantrell made an athletic play to take the momentum away from Jonesboro. Cardinals catcher Rachel Nutter smacked a shot up the middle, but Mesko gloved it and threw to Cantrell, who touched second and threw to first for the double play. Mesko then struck out Lowry for the final out.
"I knew coming in that Jonesboro would be tough and they were," said Eagle's Landing head coach Blake Lyons. "We made good, athletic plays offensively and defensively to win this game."
Eagle's Landing (12-7, 4-0) hosts Houston County Thursday while Jonesboro (8-7, 3-2) hosts Westside-Macon Thursday.