STOW: The Stow Bulldogs were playing without their middle-infield tandem of sisters Lindsay and Bekah Jones, but third sister Sadie picked up the slack in Tuesday’s 3-0 Boardman Division I sectional tournament victory.
Sophomore Sadie Jones shut out the visiting Black Tigers (7-16) with 10 strikeouts and no walks, improving her record to 15-6.
Senior shortstop Lindsay was unable to play after sustaining a sprained ankle last night and freshman second basemen Bekah has been out of action for about a week with a severe bone bruise.
“We had to change things around,” Stow coach Doug Hawkins said. “People were playing out of position today.
Only four base runners reached on Jones in the game. The runners came on two singles, an error and a dropped third strike on the leadoff hitter.
“Sadie is our workhouse,” Hawkins said. “She did it last year, she’s done it this year. When she takes the mound, that’s what we get out of her. We know she’s going to induce groundballs and get a few strikeouts.”
Though the Bulldogs (19-6) didn’t break open the scoreless game until the fourth inning, they had a couple chances to score early that came up short.
Sophomore Erin Kolke reached on an error to lead off the game when she slapped a ball through the legs of a Black Tigers infielder that was brought in to guard against a bunt. Kolke stole second base on the next pitch but was left stranded at second.
The following inning, the Bulldogs had the bases loaded with one out after a high fly ball hit by senior Olivia Rizzo got caught in the wind and became unplayable for the left fielder.
Junior Erin Sadler hit the next pitch on a hard line to Black Tigers center fielder Allie Bennett, who caught the ball and then doubled a Stow runner off second who attempted to advance without tagging.
The Bulldogs’ first run came when sophomore catcher Landry Slider roped a line drive over the left fielder’s head to score senior third basemen Stephenie Little.
“We really didn’t hit the ball as well as we’re capable of hitting today,” Hawkins said. “But we did what we had to do to win.”
Two innings later, Little hit a leadoff home run over the left-field wall to give the Bulldogs an insurance run. The homer was Little’s fourth of the year.
“That’s what we’ve been getting out of her for four years,” Hawkins said. “She’s a .450 hitter, she gives you a home run here and there and she’s one of the leaders of this team.”
To go along with Sadie Jones’ dominate pitching performance, she also made a key play in the sixth inning that halted a potential Black Tigers rally.
Falls leadoff hitter Bennett hit a hard line drive that hit Jones in the knee and caromed toward the first-base dugout.
After a mound visit to make sure Jones was okay, the next batter hit another hard line drive right back at Jones, but she caught this one and doubled Bennett off first base.
“She wouldn’t tell you if she was hurting, but that was a huge play for her,” Hawkins said. “I was watching her real close to see if there was going to be any reaction to her being hit, but that’s the kind of kid she is.”
The Bulldogs travel to Nordonia today to take on the Knights.
“Hopefully we’re a little more healthy [today],” Hawkins said. “We need to be a little more patient at the plate than we were today and our bats have to come alive.”