SULTAN — Sultan pitcher Shelby Jeffries carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and the Turks offense came to life in the fourth inning with five runs as Sultan earned a key 5-1 win over Lakewood on Tuesday.
The freshman pitcher finished with 13 strikeouts to match the total from her first start against the Cougars on March 27.
“(Jeffries) was on fire,” said Sultan head coach Garth MacDicken. “She was hitting her spots really well, her change-up was unbelievable and she had the confidance to throw it in full counts, 3-0 counts. The hitters were leaning way out (since the change) comes in so much slower than the fastball.”
Lakewood pitcher Hailey Malakowski allowed just five hits, but unfortunately for the Cougars starter, four of those came in the fourth when the Turks scored their only runs of the game.
After two walks and single by Rachel Kirkpatrick to load the bases, AJ Fulcher drew another walk to force home a run. Belle Ellis and Randi Tuggle each had RBI singles for the second and third runs, before Lexi O’Brien doubled in the last two with a shot to the gap in right-center field.
The Cougars broke through with run in the sixth on Maddie Holmes’ sacrifice fly. Jennaka Larson’s single to center spoiled Jeffries’ no-hit bid with one out in the seventh, but Turks shortstop Courtney Morris threw out a Lakewood runner at the plate after receiving O’Brien’s relay on the play. Jeffries then fanned the next batter to end the game.
After winning seven straight Cascade Conference games, Lakewood (8-3 league, 9-4 overall) has now suffered back-to-back league losses. Meanwhile, the win keeps Sultan (5-5, 6-6) in the hunt for the league’s third and final 2A district berth. That place is currently occupied by Cedarcrest (4-2, 4-2), but the Turks have a chance to make up ground.
“We have two really big games against Cedarcrest next week, it’s going to decide a lot,” said MacDicken.
At Sultan H.S.
Hailey Malakowski and Mikayla Holmes. Shelby Jeffries and Rachel Kirkpatrick. WP—Jeffries (5-3). LP—Malakowski. 2B—Lexi O’Brien (S). Records—Lakewood 8-3 league, 9-4 overall. Sultan 5-5, 6-6.