The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets averaged nearly 12 runs over their first 18 games and piled up 36 runs in two District 9-2A games.
But facing one of the league’s top pitchers Tuesday afternoon, Boyd’s powerful bats went mostly silent.
Ponder’s Jessica Orozco struck out 10 and limited Boyd to four hits in a 5-2 victory on the Lady Yellowjackets’ home field.
Orozco retired the first 12 batters she faced in order and held Boyd scoreless until the sixth inning.
“She held them well and the defense played solid behind her,” said Ponder coach Paige Wells. “Jessica always stays under control and throws strikes.”
With the win, Ponder took over sole possession of the 9-2A lead at 4-0. Ponder has wins over two of the league’s other playoff teams from last year – Brock and Boyd.
Boyd (15-4) fell to 2-1 in district.
“We’ll regroup and get back at it,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins.
Orozco kept Boyd hitters guessing all day with her riseball. Of her 10 strikeouts, six were looking.
“You strike out that many times, the defense doesn’t have to work much,” Hopkins said. “We also hit a bunch of can-of-corn popups into this wind.”
Boyd’s Chelsea Arlington, who had one of the four hits off Orozco and a RBI off a sacrifice fly in the sixth, said her Ponder counterpart wasn’t overpowering.
“She would go to her riseball, and we’d watch strikes go by and swing at bad pitches,” Arlington said. “She was definitely hittable.”
In the pitcher’s circle, Arlington kept Ponder scoreless until the top of the fourth, when Sage Stover beat out an infield single. She came home a batter later as Orozco tripled to left-center field.
In the fifth, Stover’s third infield single in four at-bats kept a Ponder rally going and drove in a run to put the Lady Lions up 2-0.
“Sage gave us a big spark and kept alive an inning,” Wells said.
Ponder added another run in the frame, taking advantage of a second Boyd error.
“We had a couple of meltdowns and gave them a couple of runs,” Hopkins said.
Down 3-0, Boyd finally got a pair of baserunners to start the fifth as Arlington doubled and Payton Salmon singled and stole second. But the Lady Yellowjackets could not capitalize on the opportunity and stranded them both.
Boyd left five runners on base over the last three innings. After Ponder tacked on two runs in the top of the sixth to go up 5-0, Boyd loaded the bases against Orozco on a walk and two hit batters with no one out.
But Boyd managed only two runs, as Orozco got two strikeouts around a sacrifice fly by Arlington and an infield single by Salmon.
Salmon was Boyd’s lone player with two hits.