MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — Thanks largely to two sophomore pitchers who competed like battle-tested seniors, the Jackson High School softball team is still on top.
Starting pitcher Dani Jackman and reliever Erin Feeney combined on a two-hitter Tuesday in a fastpitch battle for first place in the Western Conference South Division. The sophomores shut down Mountlake Terrace and helped Jackson win 3-0.
Jackman (4-0) had eight strikeouts in 51/3 innings and Feeney retired all five batters she faced to help Jackson improve its division record to 5-0. Mountlake Terrace, which committed three errors and was hitless through four innings, dropped to 3-1 in Wesco South games.
“I thought our pitchers did really well. They were hitting their spots today and that’s what they have to do,” Jackson coach Mike Moran said.
Jackman allowed leadoff singles in the fifth and sixth innings. She also walked three batters. But Mountlake Terrace, which had outscored its previous three league foes 13-1, never got a runner beyond second base.
“We kind of lost our aggressiveness at the plate today, which was really uncharacteristic for us,” Terrace coach Kim Stewart said.
Feeney stifled Terrace’s rally attempt in the sixth inning. After entering the game with runners on first and second and one out, she protected Jackson’s 1-0 lead.
First, she struck out Terrace cleanup hitter Kori Seidlitz. Then she got Chelsea Crews to line out.
Feeney pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning and earned her first varsity save.
“She comes in when somebody’s either getting tired or we need a break and today it just worked out,” Moran said. “We were in a jam and she came in and (provided) a different look and she did a real nice job.”
“If you’re the defensive coach you want your kid to come in and throw strikes, and she did a great job in that situation. Both their pitchers kept us off balance most of the game,” said Stewart.
Feeney, who started at first base, said she enjoys the relief role. She was excited to help Jackson maintain its hold on first place.
“We were so pumped. We wanted to win this game so bad. I think we had more desire and we were prepared for it,” said Feeney, who led Jackson with two hits.
Jackson scored one run in the fourth inning. Jackman scored from first base after Feeney’s line-drive single scooted under the glove of Terrace center fielder Andrea Clarey.
Jackson tallied two runs in the top of the seventh, building a three-run advantage. Cerise Knakal and Kimmi Kumangai both had two-out, run-scoring base hits.
“It was huge for us (and) it might have knocked (Terrace) down a little bit. It got them in a little bit of a hole,” Moran said.
Stephanie McLauchlan and Amanda Kristjanson had a hit apiece for Terrace. Hawks pitcher Kori Seidlitz (5-2) threw all seven innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs. She struck out seven and walked two.
Kayla Watson, Terrace’s catcher, said her team was ready for Jackson and thought it had a good chance to win. The loss will motivate the Hawks to do better, she said.
“It pumps us up more,” Watson said. “It makes us want to win more the next time we play.”
At Mountlake Terrace H.S.
Jackman, Feeney (6) and York. Ko. Seidlitz and Watson. WP-Jackman (4-0). LP-Ko. Seidlitz (5-2). S-Feeney (1). Records-Jackson 5-0 in division, 6-3 overall. Mountlake Terrace 3-1, 5-2.
Writer Mike Cane: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.