By Doug Gorman
When the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals softball team gives senior pitcher Heather Lowry the lead, it usually translates into a victory.
It's been Jonesboro's key to success for the past four years, and nothing changed Saturday afternoon in the finals of the annual Clayton County Softball Tournament as Jonesboro scored all of its runs in the fifth inning, then rode the arm of its senior pitcher to the 3-0 victory against Lovejoy.
The victory gave the Lady Cardinals their fifth straight county championship.
"I never dreamed when we won our first championship five years ago, that we would have a run like this," said head coach Jeanine Conkle.
Lowry finished the game with a no-hitter, striking out 18 while facing the minimum 21 batters.
"They (Lovejoy) really battled with us the whole time," said Jonesboro head coach Jeanine Conkle. "We got some breaks, and they didn't."
Tia Lawerence, reached for the Lady Wildcats in the bottom of the fifth inning when the third strike bounced to the backstop, but she was retired when Jonesboro turned a double play.
The game was a old-fashion pitchers' duel until the fifth inning as Lovejoy pitcher Kyle Martin also turned in a solid performance from the mound. Martin pitcher around five stranded Jonesboro base runners in the second, third and fourth inning, striking out nine Jonesboro batters through four innings. Martin finished the game with 14 strikeouts.
Jonesboro put some distance between itself and the Lady Wildcats with a three-run explosion in the fifth.
Kellsie Currin had an RBI triple and Ariana Jones singled in a run to pace the Lady Cardinals' fifth inning.
Lowry finished the game with a 3-for-4 performance, Currin went 2-for-3. Lead-off hitter Shannon Harris also had two hits.
In the consolation game, Michelle Nunes struckout two batters and Faith Robinson and Sharri Shipp drove in a couple of runs and made some tough defense plays to lead Mundy's Mill to a 5-1 win against Mt. Zion.