By Doug Gorman
The Jonesboro Lady Cardinals softball team is close to having a monopoly in the Clayton County Championship tournament.
With its 2-0 victory against Lovejoy Saturday afternoon at Lovejoy Park, the Lady Cardinal won the annual event for the third straight year.
Even though Jonesboro's main goal is to win the region title and contend for a Class AAAAA state crown, Lady Cardinals' head coach Jeanine Conkle said capturing the county title is always a nice accomplishment.
"It's a good feeling to come in and win the county title," she said.
Jonesboro latched on to sophomore pitcher Heather Lowry and the Lady Cardinals never looked back en route to the county title.
In the title game against Lovejoy, Lowry found herself in a pitching battle with Barbra Baker.
Both pitcher's took no hitters into the fourth inning before Jonesboro got the break it needed, scoring what turned out to be the winning run.
With two outs in the top of fourth, Jonesboro's Kellsie Currin reached on the first base hit of the game for either team.
Lowry helped her own cause when she reached on an infield error. Alarie Smith then loaded the bases for the Lady Cardinals win she was hit by a Baker pitch.
Nicole Soto then took advantage of a rare pitching mistake by Baker and walked to score Currin.
"Whenever you are facing a good pitcher you have to take advantage of your breaks and find away to manufacture runs," Conkle said.
The Lady Cardinals added an insurance run in the sixth and again it was Currin and Soto coming through with the offense.
Currin reached on a base hit moved up two bases on back-to-back wild pitches.
She scored on Soto's single for the final run of the game.
Lowry flirted with a perfect game for the Lady Cardinals, but it was broken up after she had retired 14 in a row.
But with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Baker reached on a single.
She turned out to be the only base runner of the game for the Lady Wildcats.
Lucy Aycock and Brittany Evans flirted with base hits in the bottom of the seventh, but they turned into hard groundouts.
In addition to her one hitter and walk-free performance in the championship, Lowry struck out 14.
She's now struck out more than 200 batters on the season.
Baker gave up three hits, walked one and struck out eight.
From Staff Reports
In other action Lovejoy began the county tournament Friday with a 15-0 victory over North Clayton.
Baker struck out nine batters and leading the Lady Wildcats offensively were Brittany Evans and Megan Ives with two hits each. Brittany Newby also doubled.
Lovejoy then defeated Mt. Zion 13-4 with Baker recording six strikeouts. Gillan Hogue, Evans and Rachel Coode led the team offensively.
Lovejoy also recorded a 10-0 victory over Morrow. Baker struck out 10 and getting two hits each were Evans and Coode.