Softball Wins at Jackson in Tournament Opener
Louisville 3, Jackson 1
The #6 Seed Louisville Leopards Varsity Softball Team defeated the host #5 Seed Jackson Polar Bears 3-1 in the Division I Massillon Sectional Semifinals Monday Evening at JHS. With the victory, Louisville improves to 18-6 on the season and advances to play at GlenOak on Tuesday in the Sectional Finals.
Starter Morgan Harris (6-2) pitched a complete game, gave up just 1 run on 4 hits, and struck out 7 to lead the Lady Leopards. Leandra Givens also batted 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, an RBI, and a run scored to lead the Louisville offense.
The Leopards got on the board first in the opening inning. With two outs, Grace Jackson found her way to second base after reaching on an overthrow. Emily Cantley followed and patiently worked the count to 3-0 as Jackson took third on a wild pitch. Cantley watched a pair of strikes to run the count full before tapping a single into left field scoring Jackson from third. Cantley fwould finish 2-for-3 at the plate for the game.
In the circle, Harris retired the first 8 Polar Bears batters she faced and struck out 4 of them. However, things changed quickly in a span of two pitches. Ninth batter Victoria Addis laid down a bunt and was safe on a bang-bang play at first. On the very next pitch, lead-off batter Diana Yunkin hit a double to left-center scoring Addis from first and knotting the game at 1-1.
Louisville would snatch the lead back in the fifth inning. Givens doubled on a 2-2 pitch to start the frame. Two batters later, Teagan Rice doubled down the left field line to score Givens for the go-ahead run. Rice’s at-bat was unforgettable as she quickly fell behind 0-2 and then patiently watched 3 straight pitches miss to work the count full. Rice fouled off three more pitches before delivering the first of her two hits in the contest.
Working with a lead, Harris got all three Jackson batters to ground out in the bottom half of the fifth inning. The Leopards padded their lead even more in the sixth when Givens cracked a 2-out double scoring Savannah Miner form third. Miner was hit by a pitch to start the inning, Rylie Squire used a sacrifice bunt to advance her to second, and then a groundout by Peyton McKeever allowed Miner to make it safely to third base.
The Polar Bears managed a single in both the sixth and seventh innings, but neither runner advanced any further than first base. The Louisville defense also helped keep Jackson at bay by committing no errors in field.
Jackson was led in the circle by Kayla Marburger who pitched a complete game, gave up just 2 earned runs on 7 hits, and struck out 6.
With the victory, the Leopards have now taken 2 out of the last 3 against the Polar Bears. Louisville still trails the all-time series 13-29, which includes a 5-18 mark at Jackson and a 4-1 record in tournament play against the Lady Bears. The Lady Leopards are now 30-31 in the state tournament since 1985 and 9-15 in those games played on the road.
UP NEXT: The Lady Leopards will next travel to GlenOak to face the #3 Seed Golden Eagles on Tuesday, May 10 in the DI Massillon Sectional Finals.
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