By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
HAYDEN — If there was any doubt beforehand as to whether Curry of Hayden deserved to be the top-ranked team in Class 5A, no such doubt lingered afterward.
The No. 1 Wildcats completely shut down the second-ranked Yellow Jackets on Thursday, putting up five quick runs in the first inning and four in the sixth for a 10-0 victory in six innings.
With ace pitcher Ashlee Swindle still sidelined as she recovers from an injury, Jackets coach Annah Cagle put senior pitcher Holli McGinnis in the circle to start. She didn’t stay long.
McGinnis gave up a lead-off walk, a single, and two straight doubles before she got the hook. Katie Justice, who Cagle hoped to give some rest to recover from her own bumps and dings, was quickly brought in. Justice still gave up another hit and another run on a well-executed squeeze play.
After that, Justice got back into the groove, giving up just two hits over the next 3-2/3 innings. She got some help from center fielder Haleigh Lane, who threw a bullet to catcher Emily Aaron to put out Wildcat runner Chloe Kirkland.
That was as close to a highlight as the Jackets got, as pitcher Katie Parr gave up just four hits and struck out six. Two of them came from Curry’s first three batters, but one was wiped out when Banks’ bunt attempt popped up and was caught on the fly by Kirkland, who then threw a strike to first to double off Kaylee Horton.
Parr helped her own cause at the plate, with an RBI double in the first and a solo homer to center field in the fifth. She was in the batter’s box when Evin Bibb scored the 10th run on a wild pitch.
Parr, Kirkland and Sharley Miller were each 2-for-3 in hitting, with Miller hitting a double to center field. Kayla Byrd was 2-for-4.
Hayden (34-2, 6-0 area) will host the area tournament next Thursday and Friday.