Jarrett’s ‘fire’ hard for Sand Rock to extinguish in Spring Garden softball doubleheader sweep

Spring Garden’s Maggie Jarrett connects on a hit against Sand Rock on Thursday. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

SPRING GARDEN – Spring Garden junior catcher Maggie Jarrett was a bit perturbed in the top of the seventh inning in game one of a softball doubleheader against Sand Rock Thursday evening.

With one out and a runner at second, Sand Rock’s Bailey Kilgore sent a grounder to Spring Garden second baseman Maggie Reedy. Reedy smothered the ball and threw to first baseman Rylie Ham to retire Kilgore for the second out. Ham saw Sand Rock runner Peyton Johnson racing for home. She threw a high floater to Jarrett, who reached up to catch the ball. Jarrett then applied the tag on Johnson, who was initially called out to end the game.

However, Sand Rock head coach Josh Bates argued the call at the plate. The umpires discussed the play and determined obstruction by Jarrett had taken place. Johnson was ruled safe.

Spring Garden pitcher Avery Steward then retired Sand Rock pinch hitter Emma Thompson for the final out of the game, a 4-1 Lady Panther victory.

Jarrett admitted the reversed call ‘put a little fire under my tail.’ In game two, she went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, home run and five RBIs in Spring Garden’s 12-6 victory.

“Having something to light a fire under your tail is a big thing in this sport,” Jarrett said. “Once you get that fire, you’re like ‘I’m going to do this.’ When you do it, it’s just a great feeling.

“I took it (the play at the plate in game one) as I have a right to the ball as much as she does to the base. When that (reverse call) happened, I was like ‘Ain’t no way.’ That kind of made me mad.”

Thursday night was just the kind of night Jarrett needed at the plate. She was also 1-for-2 with a RBI and hit by a pitch in game one.

“She’s struggled a little bit to get good solid hits, so I guess that (play at the plate) fired her up,” Spring Garden coach Ann Welsh said. “She came in the next game and had several hits and the home run. We needed that. That’s her being a leader and stepping up and getting things going.”

Spring Garden got things going early in both games against Sand Rock, particularly the second game. The Lady Panthers scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to take an early 2-0 lead before Sand Rock tied the game in the top of the second on Johnson’s two-run shot to left off Spring Garden pitcher Lilly McCain.

The Lady Panthers sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the inning and scored seven runs to take a comfortable 9-2 advantage.

Sand Rock got a run back in the third on a Johnson RBI-single to right to make it 9-3, then things took an unusual turn in the top of the fourth.

Lady Wildcat nine-hole hitter Thompson singled to center to lead off the fourth. After Aliyah King popped out to center field, Molly Lay delivered a single to center. Thompson was thrown out at second base on a bang-bang play, prompting another visit to the umpire by Bates.

After Bates argued the call for a few moments and proceeded to return to his coaching position at third base, the umpire yelled ‘I quit.’ He walked off the field, into the parking lot, then got in his truck and left, leaving only the home plate umpire to call the game.

“In 23 years I’ve never seen an official walk off the field, the court, anything. That’s a first,” Bates said. “That will be for their (umpire) association and their people to deal with. I’m a little baffled by it.”

Welsh felt the same as Bates.

“That was the strangest thing,” she said. “I hollered out to him ‘Just don’t quit on the girls.’ It’s not fair to them when a situation like that happens. I don’t want to walk off in the middle of a game and not finish it, and I know they (the players) don’t either. That was so odd. I’ve never in my life had that happen.”

After play resumed, Jarrett homered to left in the bottom of the fourth to put Spring Garden in front 10-3. Sand Rock manufactured a pair of runs across in the top of the sixth to make the score 10-5, but Jarrett delivered again with the bases loaded in the bottom half on a line drive that scored two runs.

King blasted a solo homer to left center field in the top of the seventh for the final.

“Playing how we did tonight is really big for our confidence,” Jarrett said. “Having a team like we have is a real boost. If I’m in the field or batting, I know they’re going to have my back whether I strike out, pop up or miss the ball. I know they’re going to have my back through it all.”

“We’ve started feeding off of each other. I feel like it’s trickling down all the way through the lineup,” Welsh said.

Avery Steward earned the win in the first game after going the distance. She gave up an earned run on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts. She was also 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk and two runs.

Helena Ingram tripled, scored a run and drove in one. Addie Word also had a hit.

Kaitlyn St.Clair had a pair of hits to lead Sand Rock.

In game two, McCain managed the win after going the distance in the circle for Spring Garden. She gave up three earned runs on seven hits with seven walks and a strikeout. McCain also doubled and drove in three runs.

Reedy had a pair of hits, including a double and two RBIs. Steward went 2-for-4 with two runs. Word finished with a double and a RBI. Ham had a hit and scored a run.

Johnson finished 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs for Sand Rock. King also had a pair of hits, including a home run. Aubie Camp doubled, walked three times and scored twice.

“I thought we did a really good job at the plate putting the bat on the ball. We just couldn’t get consecutive hits when we had runners on,” Bates said. “We hit a lot of balls at them and they made good plays defensively. Their pitchers did their jobs and the defense played behind them.

“We’re trying to grow. We’re trying to learn. Every at-bat is a chance to get better. Every ball pitched, every ball hit is a chance to get better. That’s why getting these two games tonight was so important. We’re just trying to get ready to compete in the area tournament and hopefully past that.”

Sand Rock’s Peyton Johnson rounds second base following her two-run homer to left field in game two of a softball doubleheader at Spring Garden on Thursday. Photo by Shannon Fagan.
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