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Jones hits 2 HRs, throws no-hitter in Gaylord's sweep of Traverse City Central

May 8—TRAVERSE CITY — There are bigger targets on the horizon for Gaylord, but one is already firmly in sight.

The Division 2 top-ranked Blue Devils (17-3, 6-0 Big North Conference) put themselves in the driver's seat in the Big North Conference with a sweep of second-place and Division 1 honorable mention Traverse City Central (15-3, 4-2 BNC) on Wednesday.

Gaylord won 10-2 and 10-0 in the BNC softball doubleheader at the Trojan Athletic Complex in Traverse City.

"We knew this was the conference championship sort of a deal," said Gaylord's Aubrey Jones, the reigning Record-Eagle Player of the Year and an Oklahoma State commit. "They're the other best team in our conference. I knew we were the better team, and we just proved that today on the field."

Now, Gaylord is striving for back-to-back Division 2 state championships.

The Blue Devils showed off their offense, with the team hitting a combined .402 entering Wednesday's doubleheader.

Jones hit a pair of home runs in the 10-2 opening-game victory, including a no-doubt line drive over the right-center field fence on a change-up. That three-run shot gave Gaylord a 3-0 first-inning lead, and she'd add a solo shot in the fifth inning, with Kennedy Wangler tacking on another solo blast to center field that same inning for a 7-1 lead.

TC Central senior and University of Dayton commit Camryn Craig turned the tables a bit with a solo home run to left in the Trojans' half of the fifth.

Wangler doubled to left in the seventh inning as part of a three-run frame to end the opener with three RBI. Addison Wangler added two RBI, and Northwood commit Hali Lenartowicz one.

Gaylord senior and Virginia Tech commit Jayden Jones pitched the opener, striking out two in six innings and allowing two runs. She missed last year's state championship run with a broken wrist.

"She just started pitching about a week and a half ago or so," Gaylord head coach Ron Moeggenberg said. "Trying to get her back in there and getting her some innings is really important right now, but definitely good to have her back."

The homers by Aubrey Jones were her 14th and 15th in 20 games this season.

The Jones sisters and Craig have played on the same national travel team the last three years for the Mojo Abernathy team based in Tennessee, along with Blue Devils second baseman and Toledo commit Alexis Shepherd.

"This summer will be full throttle," Aubrey Jones said, "all three of us."

Craig struck out seven batters in five innings, giving up only five hits.

"The girls came ready to go," Moeggenberg said. "Cam Craig is a great pitcher. She was a pitcher we prepared for for a while. We knew that she could give us a little fits. We came ready to go, so kudos to the girls. They were locked in, and we got going right away."

Craig was also 3-for-4 at the plate. Anika Peterson, Ava King and Hayden Boonstra had Central's only other hits, with Boonstra recording an RBI and Peterson hitting a double.

"We knew she was going to be a great pitcher," Aubrey Jones said. "She gave us a good game. We were preparing for her this week, though, and we were ready to go. Our preparation got us through today."

Gaylord sophomore Nora Bethuy pitched the final inning of the 10-2 win.

Gaylord scored seven runs in the nightcap's first two innings to take control, and Aubrey Jones threw a no-hitter across six frames while striking out 10.

Jayden Jones went 3-for-3 in the nightcap with an RBI and three runs. Senior catcher and Cornerstone commit Taylor Moeggenberg and Kennedy Wangler each hit doubles and drove in two runs. Addison Wangler, Shepherd and Aubrey Jones also drove in runs.

The games were played on Central's junior varsity fields, as the varsity one wasn't ready for play following Tuesday's heavy rains. The same happened with the baseball twinbill between the Trojans and Blue Devils.

"This JV field is a little bit better than our field, so we don't mind playing right here," Moeggenberg joked. "They had it ready to go. It looked good."

Gaylord has BNC home doubleheaders remaining against Petoskey and Alpena, teams Central already swept.

The Blue Devils are 17-3, their only losses coming in splits with Division 1 No. 1-ranked Farmington Hills Mercy and honorable mention Grand Haven and a split with Division 3 honorable mention Clare when neither of their top two pitchers appeared.

Gaylord keeps preparing for another state title run this weekend, bringing in Division 2 No. 3-ranked Richmond for a single game Friday and Division 1 honorable mention Hartland for a twinbill Saturday.

Hartland also visits TC Central on Friday evening.