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Lady Patriots bring 'Blazers' season to surprise end

By JOHNNY WILSON, Sports Correspondent • May 15, 2019 at 1:39 AM

GRAY — The glare from Daniel Boone’s shiny softball record apparently did little to blind fearless Jefferson County on Tuesday evening.

The Lady Patriots nabbed a 3-2 win over the Lady Trailblazers, a surprising Region 1-AAA semifinal outcome that put a screeching halt to Boone’s memorable 44-7 season.

“Sometimes you just, you get beat,” said veteran Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins. “And, uh, we got beat. We didn’t give anything to them — they just beat us.

“And you can live with that, as opposed to giving a game away. They came up here and got after us. About all you can say is that it didn’t go our way.”

Jefferson County (20-10) will travel again Wednesday to face District 2 rival Morristown East for the Region 1 crown.

FAST START THE DIFFERENCE

The Lady Patriots plated single runs in each of the first two innings to snare a quick 2-0 lead that essentially held up all afternoon.

They had only three base hits off losing pitcher Megan Ackerman, but the hits were bunched over the first two innings.

Santanna Hall plated Jefferson County's second run with a two-out single to right-center after a bases-loaded walk to Catelyn Riley scored the game's first run.

"They came out and they were the aggressor," Jenkins allowed. "We knew going in that the key was that we had to keep their 2-hole hitter (Makayla Alvey) off the bases, but she gets on twice and scores twice."

Boone cut the deficit to 2-1 in the fourth. Jaycie Jenkins doubled and then raced home due to an overthrow error on an infield single by Ackerman.

The Patriots immediately got the run back for a 3-1 lead in the fifth, when Alvey walked, stole second and scored on an Erica Lewanski groundout.

RILEY RULES 'EM

The winning pitcher was Riley, a 5-foot-10 right-handed sophomore who allowed five hits, struck out six and walked four.

Boone made it a 3-2 game in the fifth. Makenna Dance walked and scored on a sinking, one-out Greyson Stevens single that got past Jefferson County's charging outfielder for a two-base error.

However, the Lady 'Blazers were not able score again They stranded Stevens at third base before following up a pair of singles to open the bottom of the sixth with two flyouts and a strikeout. In the seventh, Riley set 'em down 1-2-3.

Riley had seen plenty of the 'Blazers despite her youth. She beat them 7-5 here two weeks ago and 2-1 in an invitational tournament last spring.

"She knows the expectations and she came out and gave us what we need," said Jefferson County coach Hillary Love. "And our defense was very good behind her.

"When (Coach Jenkins) asked me if we wanted to play (during the regular season), I told we'd come to him. I'd never won here and this place can be intimidating with those bleachers sitting up high like that. I wanted our girls to be more comfortable here just in case we had to come back for the region."

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