05/13/05 — Jackson tosses another no-hitter for CBA

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Jackson tosses another no-hitter for CBA

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 13, 2005 1:33 PM

PIKEVILLE -- A Senior Night celebration had an extended guest list Thursday evening at Charles B. Aycock.

While Washington invaded the Falcons' Nest for a key, season-ending conference game, several folks from Southern Wayne were interested in the outcome as well. If the Golden Falcons emerged victorious and the Saints did the same, then the Saints were in the playoffs.

A loss either way would put Washington in the postseason.

Southern Wayne closed out the season with a win and Aycock senior Jenny Jackson turned in another impressive performance. The right-handed pitcher threw her second no-hitter in three days and collected 16 strikeouts in a 2-0 decision against the Pam Pack.

It was the regular-season finale for both Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference teams, who were meeting for the last time.

"Jenny is an awesome pitcher," Washington coach Betty Sikes said. "I've seen her from ninth grade up. The sad thing is she leaves and we don't get to play them next year because we'll be in a different conference.

"Yesterday we tried to work on a lot of bunts and slaps (in practice). We thought maybe we could get on that way."

Washington (8-7, 8-6 ECC) had only one base runner in the regulation seven-inning game. Liz Robinson, the losing pitcher, reached base in the second inning on an infield error.

Jackson (16-2) retired the final 18 batters she faced, including 14 strikeouts.

"Our bats were not on," Sikes said. "We just couldn't seem to catch up to the pitch."

Meanwhile, Robinson held the Golden Falcons to one hit through three-plus innings and recorded seven strikeouts. C.B. Aycock coach David West called a meeting after the Pam Pack fourth and expressed discontent with his team's performance -- particularly missed signs and watching called third strikes.

After an infield pop-up, junior first baseman Kandace Burroughs ignited a quick two-run uprising with a single to left field. Jackson tripled in the same spot to score Burroughs.

Lindsey Lowe, Jackson's courtesy runner, crossed home on Rusti Talton's groundout to second base for the 2-0 count.

"There are a lot of emotions that run through kids on Senior Night and you've just got to work through it," West said. "They worked through it and the little speech there never hurts, I guess. They had to find it within themselves.

"We got some timely hits and a couple good pieces of base running. With Jenny pitching like she was, we were in the driver's seat."

Robinson, a senior, retired eight of the final 10 batters she faced and yielded five hits in the complete-game effort. The Golden Falcons' Jazzmine Lee tripled in the sixth and Brittani Edgerton slapped a lead-off single in the seventh.

Before the game, West presented potted plants to five seniors -- scorekeeper Heather Strickland, Jackson, Chrissy Setliff, Ashley Morris and Karlie West. The quartet of players participated in 80-plus victories, two trips to the Final Four and three consecutive ECC championships.

Jackson's jersey will be retired next fall during the school's annual Hall of Fame celebration.

Aycock finished 18-3 overall and 13-1 against ECC opposition. In the past three years, the Golden Falcons are 40-2 in conference play with one-run losses against Washington and South Central.

Jackson and Julia Lancaster combined for three no-hitters this week. They have a combined 12 shutouts this season.

"What more can you ask for from a group of kids?" West said. "They really put it together and have just done a great job. We knew at the beginning of the week we were in the driver's seat and controlled what we would do in the conference.

"We didn't have to depend on anyone else to lose or win. That's a good feeling."

But that good feeling is shared by the folks in Dudley. The Saints are in the postseason for the first time since 1995.