By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Sparked by stellar pitching and solid defense, Glencoe High posted a 2-0 shutout over Etowah County neighbor Sardis in girls softball action on Monday (Mar. 10) at GHS.
In seven innings, GHS starting pitcher Jessica Rathje allowed three hits and no walks while striking out nine. Rathje retired the side in order four times while holding the Lady Lions hitless from the second through the fifth innings. Her defense committed only one error while making several sharp plays in the infield to keep Sardis off the basepaths.
“As long as Jessica does her job, we’ve got the defense to back her up,” said GHS head coach Amy Travis. “We tell them if they do the small things right, you’ll make the big plays.”
Alaina Hampton’s single in the bottom of the fourth inning brought home Jensan Napper for a 1-0 lead. The Lady Yellow Jackets (4-0) added an insurance run in the next inning when Rathje’s RBI groundout scored Mykal Edwards.
The hosts almost made it 3-0 in the sixth. Hampton opened the inning with a triple, but a tremendous catch-and-throw from centerfielder Kacee Mashburn nailed Hampton at the plate and completed the double play.
“[Hampton] slid in perfectly, but that throw was right on the money,” said Travis. “It just was a great play by [Mashburn].”
“This is Kacee’s first year in center instead of leftfield, and she’s doing a great job,” said Sardis head coach Mary Beth Gilliland. “That was a perfect throw.”
The Lady Lions couldn’t capitalize on Mashburn’s big play, however, as Rathje recorded a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to seal the win.
Sardis’ best chance came in the top of the sixth when Payton Golden and Mashburn got on board with respective one-out base hits. But Rathje quickly snuffed out that opportunity by inducing an infield flyout and an infield groundout.
Hampton went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Rathje went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
In seven innings, Sardis starting pitcher Lauren Noojin struck out one while allowing four hits and four walks.
Mashburn went 2-for-3 at the plate.
“This probably was the best game we’ve played all year,” said Gilliland. “[Noojin] is just an 8th grader, and today was her third or fourth [varsity] start and she pitched a very god game. Our top two pitchers are hurt, so Laura’s having to step up, and she’s doing that. But [Rathje] also pitched a good game, and we couldn’t get a hit.”