By Doug Gorman
When the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals entered the Region 5-AAAA softball tournament on Monday, they had a two-fold plain-be one of the region representatives to next week's state sectionals, and also capture the region title.
The Lady Cardinals accomplished the first goal on Monday night with a 15-0 victory against Mays, then brought home their second goal Wednesday night with a 2-0 victory over Southwest DeKalb in the region championship game at Lovejoy Park.
Jonesboro scored both of its runs in the fifth inning. Heather Lowry picked up her second hit of the game with a one-out single, and Kellsie Currin walked to jump-start the offense in the fifth.
Jessica Martin then came through with a hard hit ball that was misplayed by the Southwest DeKalb first baseman, allowing both runners to score.
”This was a great game,“ said Jonesboro head coach Jeanine Conkle, who is guiding the Lady Cardinals back to the state tournament for the fourth straight year. ”Both pitchers did a great job battling out there.“
It's the second consecutive year Jonesboro has defeated Southwest DeKalb for the region title. It was also the second time Jonesboro beat Southwest DeKalb in this year's tournament. The Lady Cardinals sent Southwest DeKalb to the losers' bracket with a 1-0 victory Tuesday night.
Southwest DeKalb set up the rematch with Jonesboro by beating Cedar Grove earlier in the day on Wednesday.
Lowry picked up the win for the Lady Cardinals, tossing a no-hitter and finishing with 18 strikeouts. Lowry started the game with seven straight strikeouts and then pitched around some trouble in the third when she walked a batter and then put a runner on board when the home plate umpire ruled the batter had been hit.
She also walked a batter in the fifth inning.
According to Conkle, Lowry thrives under pressure situations.
”She gets mad out there when she doesn't think she is getting the calls,“ said Conkle. ”She just seems to pitch well under pressure.“
Martin and Megan Baity also had hits in the game for the Lady Cardinals.
The Lady Cardinals won't have to travel too far to participate in the state sectionals as the team will be back at Lovejoy Park.
The double-elimination tournament opens next a week from Friday with the Lady Cardinals playing the No. 4-seed out of Region 6-AAAA.