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Lady Raiders clip Lady Devils to reach Cumberland semis

KEVIN MAYS, kmays@timesnews.net • May 16, 2018 at 12:52 AM

NORTON — Neither rain, heavy at times, lightning flashes, strong at times, nor a tough time at the plate all game long could stop J.I. Burton from keeping its softball season alive.

The Lady Raiders (10-10) managed only one hit and Castlewood pitcher Gracie Hicks struck out 13 batters. But Burton countered with freshman pitcher Bailey Sturgill, who tossed a two-hit shutout with seven strikeouts in the Lady Raiders’ 3-0 win in the opening round of the Cumberland District tournament at Burton.

Burton advanced to Thursday’s Cumberland semifinals, which were pushed back a day because Tuesday’s game between Twin Springs and Thomas Walker couldn’t be played.

The Lady Raiders are scheduled to take on top-seeded Eastside on the Lady Spartans’ home field at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Second-seeded Rye Cove awaits the winner between the Lady Titans and Lady Pioneers in Thursday’s 5 p.m. semifinal.

RUNS IN A BUNCH

The Lady Raiders scored the game’s only three runs in the bottom of the second after Hannah Phelps, Jamie Flanary and Alyssa Hollinger loaded the bases with three straight walks.

Phelps scored on a Castlewood error, and Flanary and Hollinger followed her home when they scored on a two-base fielding error.

VERY LIMITED OFFENSE

Other than Burton’s trio of runs in the second, neither team could generate any offense.

“We just haven’t been able to get our bats going. It’s been like that for a while,” said J.I. Burton coach Gary Hampton.

The first-year Lady Raiders coach was pleased with his young pitcher’s performance, however.

“She has come through for me all year long,” Hampton said of Sturgill.

THROW WHAT WORKS

Sturgill (6-4) scattered the two hits she allowed — a single by Lillie Sanders in the first inning and a double by Hicks in the sixth.

The Lady Raiders freshman allowed only one walk.

“The outside pitches were working good today,” Sturgill noted. “And the defense was very good.”

The Lady Raiders committed only one error.

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