South-Doyle dealt Morristown East’s hopes of finishing second in the Inter Mountain Conference a huge blow Thursday afternoon at King Park’s Whitney Auton Field, blanking the Lady Canes, 5-0.
Winning pitcher Taylor Plemons was in control all the way as she tossed a 3-hit shutout, walked only one and struck out eight. She mixed her pitches well and kept East’s hitters off balance throughout the game with an outstanding changeup.
Shortstop Kayla Cline supplied all the runs Plemons needed in the third inning when she smacked a 1-0 pitch into the middle of Merwin Street behind the left-center field fence with a runner on.
It was the 18th victory for the Lady Cherokees against eight losses and more importantly puts them at 9-3 in conference play, alone in second place which means they would host half of the district tournament beginning next week.
East slipped to 9-4 in the league and 12-11 overall. South-Doyle still has league games with Cherokee and West while the Lady Canes have Cherokee as their remaining contest.
Seymour has already wrapped up the league crown and will host half the tournament being joined by the teams finishing fourth, fifth and eighth.
The second place team will be joined on its home diamond by the third, sixth and seventh place squads.
East coach Robin Vannoy commented, “We just couldn’t get the hits today. We put the ball in play but it seemed when we hit it pretty good it was straight at somebody. I thought their hitters came through with runners on.
“Their pitcher was on tonight and did a good job,” she continued. “We worked yesterday on staying back on the changeup and hitting it. We told the girls when they got two strikes they were going to see it. But we just didn’t do what we had to.
“It was a big game in the conference but we’ve both got games left and we’ll just have to see what happens. We still have a chance to finish second. The main thing we have to do is bounce back and beat Cherokee.”
The Lady Cherokees had two hits in the first before losing pitcher Ashlyn Pillion worked out of trouble. Aleia Swint led off with an infield hit for East and Katelyn Davidson walked two outs later before Plemons got out of the jam with a strikeout.
East had just two more base runners, a leadoff single to left by Pillion in the second and Sara Dent’s leadoff single in the fifth. In the second, Pillion was sacrificed to second but Plemons got two strikeouts to end it. After Dent’s hit, she got a foul out to third, a strikeout and a fly ball to center as the Lady Canes never really threatened to score.
After wasting a leadoff double by Kenslee Lowe in the second, South-Doyle struck in the third. Shelby Williams led off with a base hit and one out later Cline delivered her long home run. Before the inning was over, Jordan Stansberry singled, went to third on a double by Kendal Houser and scored on a ground out to make it 3-0.
The Lady Cherokees got their final two runs in the fifth. Stansberry had a long fly ball that went for a double with two outs and scored on an error as Houser singled. Houser tallied the final run on another hit by Lowe.
Pillion went 4.2 innings before being relieved by Casi McDaniel.
Williams, Cline, Stansberry, Houser and Lowe all had a pair of hits for South-Doyle.
-By Derwin Helton, Tribune Sports Writer