03/10/06 — D.H. Conley shuts down Aycock in softball

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D.H. Conley shuts down Aycock in softball

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 10, 2006 2:26 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Brittany Sutton should think about bowling as a hobby.

The D.H. Conley pitcher set up Charles B. Aycock's hitters with ease and knocked them down like bowling pins in a 5-0, non-conference victory Thursday evening. A left-handed junior, Sutton collected 14 strikeouts and carried a no-hitter into the final inning.

Pinch-hitters Chelsey Byers and Leigh Smith spoiled Sutton's no-hit bid with back-to-back singles in the seventh.

"I thought last night (Wednesday) we hit the ball real well," said Aycock coach David West, whose team banged out nine hits in a 7-2 victory at Clayton. "Tonight, we came out and hit that low. This is a young team and we can expect roller-coaster rides.

"You have to give credit to the one (Sutton) who kept us off balance and caused us to do that."

The Golden Falcon batters chased Sutton's rise ball throughout the night and constantly fell behind the count. Once Sutton had two strikes, she used a changeup -- disguised as a knuckle ball -- to get the strikeout.

Sutton struck out seven of the first nine batters she faced and didn't allow a base runner until the fourth inning. Jasmine Dobbin reached safely when the Vikings' misplayed a bunt down the first-base line.

Dobbin advanced to second and stole third, but was left stranded when Sutton fanned senior Kandace Burroughs to end the inning.

C.B. Aycock, the reigning Class 3-A eastern champion, didn't threaten again until the seventh. Sutton struck out the side after yielding consecutive hits to Byers and Smith.

"We had Suzanne Riggs pitching last week and she did a wonderful job. Most people would say go back with the pitcher who brought you here," said first-year D.H. Conley coach Wayne Deans, whose team beat Aycock 2-1 last week. "I knew Brittany would probably do a good job of keeping them off balance and that's one adjustment that really helped us tonight."

Deans also credited his team's discipline at the plate.

The Vikings, 4-0 overall and ranked No. 3 in the NCFSCA state 3-A poll, pressured Aycock right-hander Emily Jordan in the first inning. Jordan struck out the first batter, but allowed the next four hitters to reach base.

Jessica Rice delivered an RBI single to give Conley a 1-0 advantage.

Jordan, again, encountered trouble in the second and couldn't escape this time. She loaded the bases on two walks and an infield bunt. After a fielder's choice play at home, Rice ripped a grounder down the third-base line that Aycock's defense misplayed. Two runs scored.

Loren Bartz followed with a two-RBI double and boosting Conley's lead to 5-0.

"We have been really struggling with the bats for most of the season and I know it's early, so I really shouldn't be complaining too much," said Deans, whose team finished with seven hits. "Tuesday at Southern Wayne, we hit the ball very well and were disciplined at the plate. That was a key for us tonight."

Julia Lancaster, a returner off last year's final four team, took the mound after Bartz's double and silenced any further Conley uprising. The right-handed Lancaster, a junior, provided 51/3 innings of three-hit, seven-strikeout relief.

C.B. Aycock dropped to 1-2 in the post-Jenny Jackson era. The Golden Falcons, weather permitting, entertain Greene Central this afternoon.

"We've made this (non-conference) schedule extremely hard and extremely tough," said West. "The kids knew after the first four games there was a good chance we could go 0-4, but only if we didn't concentrate and focus and do the things we're capable of doing.

"That comes with youth, again. Some nights you do all those things and some nights you don't. (Against Clayton) we did and tonight we didn't."

D.H. Conley 140 000 0 -- 5 7 3

C.B. Aycock 000 000 0 -- 0 2 1

Leading hitters -- D.H. Conley -- Jessica Rice 2-4; Loren Bartz 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI; Ashley Funk 2-2. C.B. Aycock -- Chelsey Byers 1-1; Leigh Smith 1-1.


D.H. Conley (4-0)

Sutton (W) 7 2 0 0 0 14

C.B. Aycock (1-2)

Jordan (L) 12/3 4 5 2 3 2

J. Lancaster 51/3 3 0 0 2 7

WP -- Jordan, Lancaster. PB -- Burroughs. HBP -- Funk (by Jordan).