Warriors shut out Rockcastle for third-straight win

Apr. 26—Following two offensive explosions in victories over Wayne County and McCreary Central, the Southwestern Warriors were back at the War Path to take on Rockcastle County, a team that had lost eight games in a row. Both teams struggled early on to produce any hits but it was Jayla Singleton on the mound that shined, allowing just two hits as the Warriors were victorious 4-0.

The top of the first was a flawless half-inning for Singleton, as she sat the side down in order. Sophomore Sydney Holcomb got the first batter she faced out in the Warriors' half of the frame, with Kylie Dalton able to hit a hard ground ball to right field for the first single of the contest. Abigail Whitescarver reached safely following a fielder's choice, although she was soon caught stealing second to bring a close to the inning.

Singleton continued her strong start in the second, throwing some strong off-speed pitches, and striking out two of the three batters she faced. Holcomb threw her first strikeout to start the bottom of the inning. Zoie Lowery was able to single on a ball to left field before another strikeout brought Southwestern down to their final out. Macie Gwin was able to hit a ground ball to center that brought home Zoie Lowery from second, giving the Warriors the first run of the ball game. Another strikeout brought the inning to a close, but the Warriors were now up 1-0.

It was much of the same in the top of the third. Singleton struck out two of the three batters she faced as the Lady Rockets were having trouble making contact with the ball. Southwestern was able to get a double from Brynn Troxell with one out, before a line out to center immediately put Southwestern down to just one out to work with. Whitescarver was able to hit an RBI single for another Warrior run. They doubled their lead when Jordyn McDonald was able to hit a high fly ball over the wall in center for a two-run home, giving Southwestern a 4-0 edge after the first three innings.

Singleton added another strikeout in the top of the fourth, as she again faced the minimum number of batters. Gwin was able to get a single with one out before another strikeout from Holcomb. Hanah Ellis was walked, giving the Warriors two runners on base, before a fly out brought the fourth to a close.

Rockcastle finally found a hit in the top of the fifth on a single from eighth grader Lauren Hensley. Walks on juniors Makyla Hester and Kylee Fletcher loaded up the bases for the Rockets and it seemed like they were finally poised to score a run. However, Singleton was able to get out of the jam following two straight strikeouts and a fly out to left field, continuing the shutout for the freshman pitcher. It was a quick bottom of the frame for the Warriors though, as Holcomb added one strikeout to her total to keep the score at 4-0.

After a fly out to start the sixth, senior Makayla Coffey singled on a pop fly just past the second baseman to give the Rockets another chance at a score. Again, the defense and pitching clutched up though, retiring the next two batters to bring the half-inning to a close. A Holcomb strikeout put the Warriors down to their final out in the bottom of the inning before another single from Gwin to left field. Arabella Lowery was able to draw a walk to give Southwestern a chance to build on their lead, but after a ground out to the shortstop the home team's lead remained at four heading into the final frame.

Fletcher drew a walk with one out to give the Lady Rockets one final chance to score in the top of the seventh. It was the two Lowery's, Arabella and Zoie, that finished off the game though, as Arabella caught a pop fly and threw to Zoie at first to pick off the runner, concluding the game with a double play and handing Southwestern a 4-0 win.

McDonald led the way with two RBI's on her home run, the fourth one of the season for the sophomore. Whitescarver and Gwin each had one RBI for the Warriors, with Troxell, Dalton and Zoie Lowery each adding a hit. Whitescarver and Danielle Taylor each had a stolen base in the contest. Singleton turned in a near flawless performance in her complete game shutout, allowing just two hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Southwestern improves to 15-7 and will travel to Casey County on Friday before returning home for a Saturday afternoon contest against Russell County.