Prep Softball: No. 2 Hayden knocks off No. 1 Curry
by Johnathan Bentley
Apr 17, 2014 | 2343 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Curry's Kaylee Horton beats out a throw to first base during the Yellow Jackets' 4-1 loss to Hayden on Wednesday. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
Curry's Kaylee Horton beats out a throw to first base during the Yellow Jackets' 4-1 loss to Hayden on Wednesday. Photo by Johnathan Bentley
CURRY — Hayden wants the top spot.

The Wildcats made their case Wednesday.

Hayden, the defending Class 5A state champion, knocked off Curry 4-1 in a battle between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the state. It was the first matchup of the season between the state contenders.

The game was Curry's second area game of the day. The top-ranked Yellow Jackets routed Walker 15-0 in three innings to start Wednesday's double header.

In the second game, No. 1 Curry and No. 2 Hayden were locked in a 1-1 tie going into the sixth inning.

Hayden (29-2) finally got to Curry pitcher Katie Justice in the sixth inning, getting three doubles during a four at-bat stretch to push across two runs and take the lead for good.

Wildcats' pitcher Sharley Miller did the rest, holding the Yellow Jackets' potent offense to seven hits, including six singles. She walked two and struck out four.

Miller had an answer for every threat. Curry was just 1 for 6 at the plate with runners in scoring position.

Hayden struck first in Wednesday's showdown. With two outs in the third inning, Kayla Byrd reached on an infield single. After a stolen base, she scored on Kaitlin Parr's bloop single to center field.

Curry (33-6) evened the score an inning later with Shannan Rowe reaching on a single and scoring on Courtney Howze's single to left field.

In the sixth inning, Anna Meadows started the Wildcats' rally with a one-out double. Chloe Kirkland followed with a double of her own to drive in Meadows, and Kaitlin Kelley added the third double of the inning to put Hayden up 3-1.

The Wildcats scored their last run in the seventh when Kirkland was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Justice suffered the loss for Curry. She allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits, two walks and two hit batters while striking out five.

Offensively for the Yellow Jackets, lead-off hitter Kaylee Horton was 2 for 4 with a triple. Justice, Howze, Shannan Rowe, Gabby Englebert and Ella Banks added singles.

For Hayden, Kirkland was 1 for 3 with a double, a run and two RBIs, Byrd was 1 for 4 with a run scored, Parr was 1 for 3 with an RBI, Meadows was 1 for 3 with a double and a run and Kelley was 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI.

Curry will get another chance at the Wildcats in another 5A, Area 12 showdown next Thursday on the road.

Against Walker, Curry's first eight batters reached base and scored. The Jackets pounded out 13 hits over three innings.

Curry led 8-0 after the first inning and 10-0 at the end of two.

Horton finished 3 for 4 with a run and two RBIs, Howze was 2 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs, Haleigh Lane was 2 for 3 with two runs and Shauna Rowe was 2 for 3 with three runs and an RBI.

Holli McGinnis got the win. She allowed two hits and a walk while striking out four in three innings.

The Yellow Jackets will go after their third straight Walker County Softball Tournament title starting Friday at Oakman High School.