Jordan-Matthews reaches first softball state final
Holly Clark has been perhaps the bright spot for the Jordan-Matthews Jets softball team recently, but she shared the duties a little bit Thursday night.
Six different Jets batted in runs and the other three batters all scored at least one run as Jordan-Matthews (23-4) defeated the Northeastern Eagles 9-2 in Game 2 of the semifinals of the NCHSAA 2A softball championships. The victory earned the Jets the East Region championship and a berth in the state finals, their first ever as a program.
“(It’s) a really good team here,” said Jordan-Matthews coach Chris Cote. “They work hard, work hard at practice and all through the year. It pays off at a time like this.”
Clark, a sophomore pitcher, continued her recent productive form. In Game 1 on Tuesday, Clark had two RBI and struck out 11 batters in a complete game effort. Thursday night, she threw a complete game five-hitter with five strikeouts and went 2-for-3 from the plate with two RBI.
“She’s done the job all year,” Cote said. “She pitches at a high level and does her work every day and that’s why she’s so effective.”
She got the Jets on the board in the bottom of the first with two-run single to centerfield after Northeastern scored an unearned run in the top of the inning. Jordan-Matthews tacked on four runs in the next frame on a Hanna Stackhouse sacrifice fly and singles from Dee DeCristofaro and Caroline Webster, upping the Jets’ lead to 6-1.
The Eagles got one back in the top of the third on a Maci Keaton single. Northeastern pitchers Delanie Winslow and Hailey Jomp managed to kill run-scoring opportunities in the third and fourth innings, but a run-scoring double from Madison Poe in the fifth and Katie Black’s two-RBI single in the sixth increased Jordan-Matthews’ lead.
“When we face certain kind of pitching that’s got breaking pitches, we force them to throw pitches we can hit,” Cote said. “We adjust in the batter’s box as hitters and we pick up on stuff. We make the adjustments in the batter’s box and make the pitchers throw the pitches we want.”
Meanwhile, Clark held Northeastern scoreless. She struck out three of four batters at one point, and was helped by a play at the plate in which Jets catcher DeCristofaro tagged out Northeastern’s Keaton off a throw from center fielder Alestra Lask for the third out of the top of the sixth.
The Jets await their finals opponent. Forbush defeated East Rutherford 10-1 in their second game Thursday night, forcing a third game on Saturday night for the West Region championship. The best-of-three state final series is set for June 6-7 at Walnut Creek Softball Complex in Raleigh.
Cote said that it’s important that his team continue to play the way they’re playing.
“Just keep doing what we’ve been doing all year,” Cote said. “Keep playing our game and make other teams beat us.”