Jemison softball takes third in Leeds tournament

Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017

After a 21-0 season-opening win at Dallas County on Feb. 23, the Jemison Panthers softball team hit the road over the weekend, taking part in the Leeds Greenwave Invitational, a tournament that boasted some of the top teams in the area across all classifications.

The Panthers posted a 4-1 record in the tourney, and came away with third place, falling in the semifinals to a formidable opponent in Class 6A Oxford.


Kennise Bolton held the Saints to a single hit and survived three JHS errors to pick up her first win of the season.
After three scoreless innings, the Panthers finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, when Hannah Rose Corbin doubled to left field and later scored on a Jessica Paschal two-out single.
While Bolton continued to hold St. Clair’s offense at bay, Jemison added an insurance run in the final inning, when Destiny Bailey doubled and came home on Emma Allred’s single.
Bailey, Allred, and Madison Moore each contributed two hits in the game, while Bolton went six innings for the win, striking out two and throwing 43 strikes out of 58 total pitches.


The Panthers got a chance to put some of their young talent on display against Ashville, and it paid off in a big way, as JHS jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and coasted to the win.
Paschal got things started with a leadoff infield single, scoring two batters later on a wild pitch.

Corbin pushed the lead to two after walking and scoring on a double by Bailey.

Freshman Shelby Crowson plated Bailey and Erristen Evans, who had also singled to reach base safely, while fellow freshman McKenzie Cleckley would close out the scoring in the first by lifting a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Allred.
Jemison did not score again until the third inning, pushing two runs across, as another freshman, Chloe Eddins, walked, Paschal singled, and Jasmine Epperson brought them around with a double to left field.
Eddins also contributed on the mound, going the distance for the win, surrendering just three hits and striking out six with just one walk.

Offensively, JHS was paced by Evans’ and Paschal’s two hits each, and two RBIs apiece from Crowson and Epperson.


In the final game of pool competition, the Panthers won a heart-stopper against host Leeds that went down to the final play.
The Panthers scored their only two runs of the game in the top of the second, getting a leadoff walk by Bailey, an RBI double from Allred and a groundball by Crowson that scored Allred.
Corbin was again dominant on the mound, limiting Leeds to just three hits and one run going into the bottom of the final inning, but that is where things got interesting. With the tying run on third base and two outs, Corbin’s low inside fastball to the batter got to the backstop, but Moore and Corbin teamed up on an outstanding toss and tag to nail the runner at the plate.
The play saved the game for JHS, but it cost the team their pitcher for the remainder of the tournament.  Corbin sprained her right thumb on the tag and was held out for the final two games.  She finished the game with nine strikeouts and surrendered no walks.  Moore led the Panthers at the plate, going 2-for-2.


JHS got a great balance of offense and pitching to take the victory over the Oak Grove Tigers in the first round of elimination, scoring two runs in each of the first three innings to put the game away early.
Paschal got things started in the bottom of the first, tripling to center field and scoring an infield grounder by Epperson.

After a Bailey walk, Moore delivered a single to bring her home.
In the second inning, Kelsey Lowery beat out a ground ball single to shortstop, then two runs came home on Paschal’s rare inside the park home run over the right fielder’s head, giving the Panthers a 4-0 lead.
Jemison extended the lead to six in the next inning, after Moore was hit by a pitch, Crowson hit a bloop single to second base and Lowery brought them both home with a single to right.
Oak Grove added a harmless run in the fourth, but the game was out of reach with Bolton on the mound.

The junior pitcher gave up four scattered hits, one walk and had six strikeouts to improve to a record of 2-0.
Paschal and Lowery each had two hits for the Panthers, with Lowery adding two RBI.


In clearly its toughest contest of the season, JHS squared off with Class 6A Oxford in the tournament semifinals. Despite battling back from an early deficit to tie the game at the midway point, the Panthers could not pull off the upset, falling 6-2 and finishing tied for third place in the tournament.
Oxford scored a single run in each of the first two innings, but Jemison got a huge lift in the third inning when Bolton broke the ice with a big double to center field and Paschal followed it with a towering home run over the left field fence.
The two runs were all that the Panthers could muster, however, as Oxford took advantage of nine hits and five Jemison errors to earn the win.
Despite taking the loss on the mound, Bolton showed great command, striking out five batters and stranding nine Oxford base runners in the contest.