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Ennis Daily News

Edward Jones sits in tourney driver’s seat after red-hot start

The EGSA high school eligible league tournament is a perfect example of why nothing is ever a sure thing in sports.
Edward Jones (EJ) entered the tourney as the No. 3 seed, while Thursday opponent Mighty Clean Cleaners (MCC) came in at No. 5. MCC opened with an upset of No. 2 Globe Products, as EJ beat No. 4 Home Town Chiropractic and No. 1 Ennis Ford. When EJ and MCC met up as the final-two unbeatens, EJ exploded for seven runs in the first inning en route to an 8-4 victory. A win on Saturday clinches the league title for EJ and a trip to the state tournament in Brownwood.
“The girls really started hitting the ball and playing better defense in the tournament,” said EJ coach Tim Price.
“They’re playing as a team and beating the No. 1 team the other night gave us a momentum boost. Ennis Ford beat us three times in the regular season, so our girls were really motivated to show they could step up.”
Considering MCC’s personnel troubles, the visitors did an admirable job on Thursday night. Even with the services of pickup players Hunter Keilers (freshman league) and Jayda Emerson (10U league), Madalyn Zapletal was required to play both first and second base all game long.
“I think the girls have it in them to go all the way in this tournament, but not having all our players was tough to overcome,” said MCC coach Pat Kelly.
“We just try to deal with it.”
Morgan Price paced the EJ offense with an RBI single and a double. Cheyenne Gibson smacked a three-RBI triple, while Paige Brewer connected on a single and finished with three RBIs of her own.
Kayla Marusak added an RBI groundout for the home team. Brewer (2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 4 W, HBP, 3 SO) got the start in the circle, while Staci Price (3 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 W, 2 SO) earned the save.
Though EJ pitchers carried a collective no-hitter into the fifth inning, MCC finished strong offensively. Jamey Kelly came up with an RBI single, while Zapletal and Taylor Garcia each singled.
Holly Hines added an RBI groundout. Erin Sibley (4 IP, 7 ER, 4 H, 4 W, 4 HBP, 2 SO) went the distance in the pitching department.
Brewer could’ve gotten in big trouble by walking the first three batters of the game, but she stepped up to squash the threat. As Zapletal sped home on a passed ball, catcher Gibson tossed the ball to Brewer and she made the tag just in time. With a couple of runners still on, Brewer fanned the next two batters to get her team off the field.
When the first three runners reached base for EJ, Gibson didn’t let the visitors escape unharmed as she drilled a bases-clearing triple into right field. Morgan Price (RBI single), Brewer (two-RBI single) and Marusak (RBI groundout) all did damage for a 7-0 cushion before consecutive fielded groundouts by shortstop Jamey Kelly got MCC into the dugout.
“That was a great hit by Cheyenne and we needed it because our offense trailed off later in the game,” Price said.
“Paige helped herself with a good early hit and Kayla did a good job of bringing in one of those runs for us.’
“Jamey made some plays at shortstop (involved in five defensive outs) and I thought we did pretty well with a [makeshift] infield,” the MCC coach said.
An automatic out for the lack of a ninth batter hurt MCC for the first of three occasions during the top of the second. Brewer struck out a batter and forced a popout to shortstop Meggan Kelly before giving way to reliever Staci Price in the next inning.
“Paige was doing just fine at pitcher, but with the good lead I wanted to save her for our next game,” Price said.
The MCC defense found the bottom of the second much more enjoyable as third baseman Garcia, Zapletal and Jamey Kelly all registered outs to keep the deficit from growing. Unfortunately, getting on the board proved to be a tall order for MCC as Meggan Kelly snagged a couple of groundouts in the third while Gibson tracked down a foul pop.
“Meggan is a pretty good defensive player and it showed tonight,” Price said.
EJ added a bit more to its lead in the bottom of the inning as Morgan Price drove a fly double to left and advanced to third on an error. She then came home on Brewer’s RBI groundout for an 8-0 score. MCC catcher Hayley Vyers did throw out a baserunner with two ladies on to prevent further damage.
“Morgan has really been getting it done [offensively] in the last three or four games,” the EJ coach said.
“Hayley has a pretty strong arm behind the plate,” Kelly said.
Staci Price worked quickly through the MCC fourth as her team edged closer to a win. Emerson, the 10U player, did well to put her bat on the ball during a groundout.
“It was good to get Staci some more pitching work in case we need to go to her again down the line,” coach Price said.
Despite an MCC error in the bottom of the fourth, EJ didn’t add to its lead due to some great play from Zapletal. Positioned in between first and second base all night, Madalyn tagged out a baserunner after fielding a grounder and made a great stretch at first to catch a Jamey Kelly throw that ended the inning.
“It takes a lot of guts and athleticism to play two positions and Madalyn made a lot of nice plays,” Kelly said.
Down to its last three outs, MCC fought valiantly in the fifth. Zapletal and Garcia opened with singles and Kelly connected on an RBI single two batters later.
Hines’ RBI groundout made for an 8-2 game, but MCC wasn’t quite done. Vyers (walk) scored on a passed ball and Kelly somehow managed to dodge Gibson’s tag on the third-base line during a rundown to finalize the score.
“Holly put the bat on the ball when we needed to bring another run in,” Kelly said.
“We needed to make something happen at the end and Jamey did well to make it home safely. If we could’ve gotten out of that first inning sooner, our big last inning might’ve made a difference. We’ll have to hit the ball earlier in the game to get back to winning.”
With his team on the cusp of a league title and a trip to state, Price was understandably quite proud of his players.
“If we come out playing good defense and hit the ball, we’ll keep winning games,” he said.
“The girls really want to go to the state tournament and they’re feeding off of that right now. I’m proud of everyone of these players for what they’ve accomplished so far, but we want to keep pushing all the way to Brownwood.”

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Posted by on Jun 20 2008. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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