North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

February 27, 2014

Softball: Gardendale 2, Mortimer Jordan 0 (8 innings)

Gant, Murphy combine for 33 strikeouts

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

KIMBERLY — A matchup between two arch-rivals turned into an epic pitchers' duel, with 33 strikeouts recorded over eight innings, and one pitcher having a no-hitter through seven.

That was Mortimer Jordan's Bailey Murphy, who had held Gardendale at bay throughout regulation play, only to have her defense give up three errors to allow the go-ahead run, and an insurance run score on the only hit she allowed, as the Rockets survived to shot out the Blue Devils 2-0 on Tuesday.

Gardendale pitcher Cris Gant struck out 16 batters and allowed just four hits, three of them to Jordan center fielder Shelby Maze. Murphy struck out 17, including nine of the first 10 hitters; she gave up two walks in the fourth inning, but got out of the jam when the lead runner was caught stealing.

The Rockets loaded the bases in the top of the eighth on two lead-off errors, a bunt attempt beaten out by Kayleigh Maze, and another error that brought home Sabrina Russell. Then after a strikeout, Caroline Burns singled to left to score Kaylee Jury.

The Devils had their chances in the bottom of the eighth, as singles by pinch hitter Carly Hodo, a sacrifice bunt by Jessica Hill and a Shelby Maze hit put runners at first and third with two out. But Gant got shortstop Alyson Linn to strike out swinging to end the game.

Burns, Hodo and Shelby Maze were the only batters to record base hits in the game.

Gardendale (1-0) faces Pinson Valley on Thursday, while Jordan (2-1) is off until Tuesday, when they host Spain Park.