Lady 'Rocks fall to Cambridge in 11-0 shut out

Mike Hughes
Special to Cambridge Daily Jeffersonian
Cambridge's Morgan Bradison applies the tag on a sliding Maddie Schaffer of Barnesville at third to complete a 4-3-5 double play in the first inning on Tuesday in Barnesville.

BARNESVILLE — In Cambridge’s last few losses, the Bobcats’ fortunes turned primarily because of one bad inning. Errors turned to unearned runs and a close game quickly slipped away.

The opposite came true Monday in Barnesville as this time, the Cambridge bats came alive in a one-inning explosion. The visitors, aided by a command performance from budding freshman Abby Mann, left Belmont County with a 11-0, 5-inning victory.

What’s better though in the eyes of head coach Bob Shepherd was not the nine-run third inning, but the fact his team played error-free defense.

“Our biggest concern is defense,” Shepherd said. “We knew the hitting would come in spurts, but the main thing is we preach and preach about only three outs in an inning. They gave a little rah-rah cheer after I told them we had zero errors."

"But that’s important that we continue to build off that because the errors have killed us," Shepherd added.  "Not necessarily in multiple innings, but just that one inning with a lot of unearned runs.”

Barnesville coach Kelly Hanlon can relate. The Shamrocks are improving. Take way the third inning and this is a two-run ball game. But like Cambridge, this wasn’t Barnesville’s first dance with the one big negative inning impact.

“We’ve been getting better every game, but in three games, it’s come down to one bad inning that got away from us,” Hanlon said. “And we are on a streak of getting two outs and then letting runs come in. It’s happened in that last three games. We get the first two outs, no problems, and then can’t finish the inning.”

Cambridge freshman Abby Mann (12) prepares to let loose with a pitch in softball action with Barnesville on Tuesday.

The two-out issue arose in the first inning. With runners on first and second, freshman pitcher Jadyn Thornton got cleanup hitter Desti Broomhall to bight on her change-up and swing early, recording her only strikeout of the game for the second out.

But catcher Pressley Dodd ripped a 1-2 pitch hard up the middle, scoring both Ava Byerly from third and Mann. Thornton got the next batter to pop-foul to third, but the damage was done.

She got through the next inning unscathed, but it was the third, when Cambridge clubbed six hits resulting in nine runs that did Barnesville in.

Two walks, a hit batter and then a fielding error didn’t help the cause. Neither did No. nine hitter Paris Winston’s two-run double, or Mann’s triple to deep left that likely clears the fence if the outfield featured one.

That inning produced the Bobcats’ final margin of 11 runs. The way Mann was pitching, and her teammates backing her up, the total was more than enough.

Mann had just one walk, the next to last batter she fast, to go with two hits allowed and two strikeouts through five innings.

She kept the ball down and nearly all contact stayed in the infield. Three of those infield putouts came straight back to the freshman.

“We only had two hits off her and that was our conversation as I told the girls you have to get confident in the box,” Hanlon said. “They are able to hit, I’ve seen them do it and the stats show it. I just can’t get them to do it at the same time.”

Shepherd was again complimentary of his young hurler, both her efforts in the circle and at the plate, where the ’Cats No. three hitter had a single to go with her third-inning blast to deep left-center.

“She has all the potential in the world,” Shepherd said. “Coach (Gene) Ford used to talk about quickness and size. Quick will get tired, but big doesn’t get small. She’s a strong kid and will only get stronger with our lifting and condition program. She’s going to be special the next 3-4 years.”

Backing Mann with their bats were a number of Bobcats, led again by Dodd, who drove in three runs with two singles. She also was hit by a pitch twice in going 2-for-2.

Dodd, Mann, Byerly and Paige Matthews each had two hits apiece, while Camryn Gebhart and Madisyn Mickey had an RBI apiece.

The Shamrocks two hits came from Thornton, who had a single, and Maddie Schaffer, who hit a solid double to the outfield in the first inning, only to be doubled up on a 4-3-5 double play to end the inning.

NEXT — Cambridge takes on Marietta today in an ECOL showdown, while Barnesville travels to Shadyside.

Dover 10, Meadowbrook 0

BYESVILLE — Visiting Dover High wasted little time in grabbing the upper hand on Tuesday in non-league softball action versus Meadowbrook High.

The Lady Tornadoes posted four runs in the first inning, followed by three more in the second to take a commanding 7-0 lead.

That was more than enough run support for Dover starting pitcher Mollie Devault, who tossed a complete game one hitter. Devault finished with seven Ks and walked one.

Hannah St. Clair picked up the lone Lady Colts (4- hit with a single.

NEXT — Meadowbrook travels to Tri-Valley on Thursday at 5 p.m.