By Anthony Rhoads
Jonesboro pitcher Heather Lowry had a dominating performance against South Atlanta to open the Region 5-AAAA softball tournament.
Lowry struck out 19 en route to tossing a no-hitter as the Cardinals beat the Lady Hornets 1-0 Monday night at Lovejoy Regional Park.
Lowry only allowed one baserunner when she walked a batter in the second inning but catcher Rachel Nutter threw the runner out at second when she tried to steal. After the walk, Lowry struck out 14 straight batters.
Lowry threw only 88 pitches and 60 were strikes.
"She's awesome but we've got to score more runs," Jonesboro head coach Jeanine Conkle said. "I believe this game gave me 12 ulcers tonight."
Jonesboro run-ruled South Atlanta in the regular season in a 10-0 contest but Monday, Jonesboro's bats were silent most of the night.
"I thought we came out a little too relaxed," Conkle said. "I think they just assumed they were going to come out and bust the ball."
Rachel Nutter led off the game with a single and with two outs, Kellsie Currin singled but they were stranded on base.
In the fourth, Lowry helped her own cause by ripping a double down the third base line.
Currin followed with a single and Lowry scored when Kala Smith collected a bunt single.
Jonesboro had the bases loaded with no outs but failed to generate more runs.
"I thought we were going to bust it open but we couldn't get the runs across," Conkle said. "(South Atlanta) played really good defense."
Jonesboro, the No. 1 seed in the region tournament, plays Southwest DeKalb today at 7 p.m.
Southwest DeKalb advanced by beating Mays 10-0 Monday night.
In an early game Monday, South Atlanta beat Columbia 8-7.
In other area softball tournaments
n Union Grove wins two; qualifies for state: The Union Grove Lady Wolverines won their first two games in the Region 4-AAAAA softball tournament Monday night to qualify for the state playoffs.
Union Grove shut out both its opponents, Mundy's Mill (10-0) and Starr's Mill (1-0), at the tournament, held at McCurry Park in Fayetteville.
It took only five innings for Union Grove to dispatch the Lady Tigers of Mundy's Mill. Megan Escue threw a two-hitter, striking out eight and Lindsay Hopkins went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Lily Skelton's solo home run was enough to beat Starr's Mill in the second game. Monica Perry struck out six and allowed two hits in the playoff-clinching victory.
Union Grove will play the East Coweta Lady Indians tonight at 7 p.m. in the winner's bracket final. The winner of this game will play the loser's bracket finalist. Lady Wolverines head coach Brian DeBerry said his team is looking forward to playing East Coweta.
"They beat us 1-0 earlier in the year," he said. "We're glad to see them again."