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Jackson County opens softball season with big win
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Jackson County Pitcher Haley Shinall delivers a pitch for the Panthers during the third inning of Monday afternoon’s game with Clark Central at the Jackson County High softball field. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times


Listen to Jackson County coach Tommy Fountain dicuss his team's 14-2 win against Clarke Central on Monday in Jefferson.
Jackson County didn’t let their lack of experience keep them from kicking off their season in winning form.

The Lady Panthers, who have no seniors and nine freshmen on the roster, needed only four innings to defeat Clarke Central 14-2 in their 2008 season opener Monday in Jefferson.

Jackson County scored in every inning, including six in the fourth inning, and every player in the batting order scored at least once.

"Coming into this game, we felt that we’d be happy with the results," Lady Panthers coach Tommy Fountain said. "We feel that if we play the way we’re capable of, we may surprise some people."

Haley Shinall, a freshman, pitched a complete game for and was 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for Jackson County.

"She’s a freshman, so she’s only going to get better," Fountain said. "She knows she isn’t going to overpower everybody, but she always hits her spots."

Shinall also anchored the heart of the Jackson County batting order that contained clean-up hitter Becca Nelson (2-for-4 with an-inside the park home run and two RBIs), and No. 3 hitter Brooke Griggs, who was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

"We’re expecting big things out of Haley, Brooke and Becca," Fountain said. "They have the capability of being able to hit with anybody."

The Panthers took began mounting their lead with three runs in the first inning off Nelson’s RBI single and Shinall’s two-run double.

Unable to counter with runs of their own, Clarke Central fell behind by seven runs after Jackson County’s four-run second inning. After Macey Latty doubled to score leadoff hitter Jessica Laird, Griggs knocked in her second run of the night. Nelson followed that up with an inside-the-park home run to deep left field.

The Lady Gladiators scored their only two runs of the game in the third inning when Amber Thomas hit a two-run single to left.

Shinall silenced any chances of a Clarke Central comeback, striking out the side in the fourth inning. She then had two hits in the bottom half of the inning as Jackson County batted around the order, scoring six runs in the process.

Erica Parker’s two-run double in the fourth inning activated the 10-run rule, ending the game.

The Panthers will look to stay unbeaten when they open the Home America Mortgage Invitational against Roswell at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Mill Creek High.

"We don’t get any time off, so things will get tougher really quick," Fountain said.

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