The District 9-2A-leading Ponder Lady Lions could not solve Chelsea Arlington Saturday.
After giving up five runs on nine hits in their March meeting, the Boyd junior hurler allowed only one hit and baserunner in a 7-0 blanking of Ponder at Lady Lion Field.
“I told Chelsea that she threw probably the best game we’ve had thrown around here in 17 years,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins. “She threw strikes, kept the ball down and made them beat it into the ground. We made every play we had to make behind her.”
The victory moved Boyd (19-5) within a game of Ponder for the 9-2A lead at 6-2 with four league games remaining.
“We knew winning wouldn’t take them out of the No. 1 spot,” said Boyd shortstop Brittney Howard. “But for us it’s a big deal. It boosts our spirits up.”
Boyd took over second place a game ahead of Brock, who they will see in the regular season finale April 17.
“It’s going to be hard to catch [Ponder] for first because they’ve beaten Brock twice already,” Hopkins explained. “But if we win out and come down to Brock the last game that will be for second and third.”
The Lady Yellowjackets will be hard to beat if they continue to get pitching and solid defense like they did Saturday.
Arlington struck out only two, but never allowed Ponder hitters to square up a ball – they never hit a ball out of the infield. The lone hit was by the Lady Lions’ ninth-hole hitter Madison Welch in the bottom of the third.
“I was really working my dropball and changeup. I wasn’t throwing them anything to hit honestly,” Arlington said.
Behind her, the Lady Yellowjackets made 19 putouts without an error. Howard and third baseman Payton Salmon handled 10 chances perfectly.
“Our Wednesday practice last week, that’s all we did was defense,” Howard said. “That’s a lot of our game. Our infield is solid. Today nothing got past us. That was a big help. Thanks to Chelsea – she didn’t leave anything over the plate. She pitched an amazing game.”
Arlington pitched the entire game with a lead as she doubled in a run and Salmon scored her with a single in the top of the first.
Arlington went 3-for-4 against Ponder pitcher Jessica Orozco, with three extra-base hits. She rounded the bases in the seventh after a triple up the middle and a Ponder error.
Five of Boyd’s 11 hits off Orozco went for extra bases. Howard provided the big blast, belting a pitch over the left-field fence in the top of the second to plate two runs and put Boyd up 5-0.
“I was informed that it was only the second home run hit out on this field and the first one of the season. That’s pretty cool, too,” Howard said.
“This time we took away her riseball. We were all up in the box and worked on that in practice this week. We knew what we had to do and got it done.”