04/22/05 — Softball -- Jackson near perfect for CBA

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Softball -- Jackson near perfect for CBA

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on April 22, 2005 2:02 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock's Jenny Jackson wasn't perfect on the mound Thursday night against Southern Wayne, but she was darn close -- one out away from a perfect game before a two-out single in the seventh by Alyssa Bradshaw.

Oh yeah, her hitting was pretty good too in the Golden Falcons' 5-0 win at home over the Saints.

Jackson (8-2), a Western Carolina signee, struck out 14 with no walks, shutting down the Saints with a mixture of pitches. The senior fanned the side twice and struck out at least two in all but one inning, the fourth.

Jenny Jackson

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Jenny Jackson

She carried a perfect game into the top of the seventh and quickly retired the first two hitters in the Southern Wayne order with a ground out and a strikeout. Bradshaw worked the count to 2-1, before knocking a sharp single through the middle to break up the perfect-game bid.

Disappointed but composed, Jackson recovered to pick up her 14th strikeout and closed out her fifth shutout of the season.

"I try not to think about it (perfect game) while I'm out there, because I don't want to mess it up," Jackson said. "My fastball and curve were working well tonight."

The win improves the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference leading Falcons (12-3 overall) to 7-1 in league play. The Saints fell to 7-7 overall and 4-6 against conference foes.

"Jenny was on tonight. She did outstanding," Southern Wayne coach Brad Matthews said. "She gets the ball up there in a hurry, and you have to be ready. You don't have much time to react."

Jackson also benefited from flawless defense behind her with a diving grab by Jasmine Dobbin in center field to end the fourth highlighting the glove-work.

At the plate, she smacked two deep triples and walked once as her courtesy runner Lindsey Lowe raced home twice and Jackson scored once. Aycock put together a two-run inning in the fourth against Southern Wayne starter Karen Thornton and scored once each in the second, fifth and sixth.

Jackson tripled home Kandace Burroughs, who singled with one out in fourth. Rusti Talton then scored Lowe with a fielder's choice ground out -- making the score 3-0.

Jazzmine Lee's squeeze bunt scored Ashley Morris in the fifth, before Talton tallied another RBI on a fielder's choice in the sixth.

Aycock coach David West was pleased with his team's ability to score in a variety of ways against Thornton, who gave up just three hits and three earned runs in five innings of work.

"We are making contact. We know we are a good, fast team," Aycock coach David West. "We've got to find a way to get on base and get these girls around, and be in position to score when the big hit comes.

"Southern Wayne is a good team. We know that whenever we step on the field, we have to bring our 'A' game."

Thornton struck out one and issued just one walk in a game where both pitchers stayed around the strike zone. The Southern Wayne defense committed only one error behind Thornton, accounting for one unearned run.

Saints' reliever Lesli Darden yielded Jackson's triple, which one-hopped the fence in left-center to start the sixth. Talton followed with her second RBI, coming on a fielder's choice to second -- completing the scoring.

Notes: Aycock returns to action Tuesday at Kinston, then entertains South Central next Friday. Southern Wayne travels to Wilson Hunt in non-conference action next Wedenesday, before hosting West Carteret in ECC play two days later ... In two complete games against Southern Wayne this season, Jackson has yielded no runs, three hits, no walks with 26 strikeouts ... Thornton allowed no hits and only one base runner in the first three innings.