VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - With a chance to advance in the MHSAA Playoffs on the line, Vancleave sophomore pitcher Avery Johnston refused to let her team down.
“We have one of the best pitchers in the state," Vancleave head coach Donna Bragg said.
Throwing eight strikeouts while giving up just three hits, Johnston threw a complete game shutout, leading the Lady Bulldogs (24-2) to a 1-0 game two victory over Northeast Jones, clinching the series sweep and advancing to the next round.
Johnston didn’t get much help from her offense until late in the evening. With the game still in a scoreless tie in the sixth, Vancleave managed to load the bases with no outs. An RBI single by Brin Daughtery finally got a run on the scoreboard, giving Vancleave a 1-0 lead before Johnston secured the final three outs on the mound.
"Just (don’t) let them hit hard hits and place my pitches to where they can’t hit them,” Johnston said of her mindset in such a low-scoring pitchers duel.
Did the University of Mobile commit ever get worried that the bats wouldn’t back her up?"
“No,” she smiled. “I always believe in my team.”
“Our bats, they came alive when we needed them right there," Bragg said. "We’re just really excited to get the win at home and move on.”
The Lady Bulldogs visit West Lauderdale on Friday before their second round series returns to Vancleave on Saturday for a noon game two contest.
Meanwhile, another South Mississippi squad saw their season come to an end Wednesday, as East Central dropped games two and three to Newton County 10-0 and 8-3.