Lady Gladiators get 2013 season underway in debut with Hubbard Lady Jaguars

Image: JV pitcher Cassidy Childers brings the heat during a chilly outing against Avalon.

JV pitcher Cassidy Childers brings the heat during a chilly outing against Avalon. (Barry Byers)

Italy — To start the 2013 Lady Gladiator Softball season, the JV Lady Gladiators played practice innings against Avalon’s JV Lady Eagles. Cassidy Childers took the mound for Italy while Lillie Perry was active as catcher behind the plate.

First-baseman Jozie Perkins, second-baseman Reagan Adams, shortstop Ashlyn Jacinto, third-baseman Hannah Washington, left fielder Amber Hooker, center fielder Britney Chambers and right fielder Tia Russell rounded out Italy’s starting lineup.

A few highlights for Italy’s JV girls were when Hannah Washington belted a double, Tia Russel singled, Britney Chambers scoring from third-base and Perry removing her catcher’s mask to better locate and catch a popup in foul territory.

Lady Gladiators vs. Hubbard:
After a regional final run last season, the Lady Gladiators returned to the diamond Monday to show their skills against friendly rival Hubbard with the Lady Jags being a real claw in the sides of the Lady Gladiators the past couple of seasons.

Jaclynn Lewis took the mound in the opener for the Lady Gladiators as junior catcher Paige Westbrook filled in for Italy’s All-State and All-American catcher Alyssa Richards who was preparing for the basketball playoffs. While Westbrook gave a strong performance, as did Lewis, Hubbard managed to lead 3-0 after 1 and a half innings with Italy’s batters unable to answer in the bottom of the second-inning.

Madison Washington singled in the bottom of third-inning but was stranded after Italy grounded into a third out.

With Hubbard facing 1 out in the top of the fourth-inning but with a runner on first, Westbrook guns down the runner stealing second with Washington making the tag from her shortstop position. Lewis fields a grounder and throws to Beets covering first-base for the third out.

In the bottom of the fourth, its three up, three down for Italy with Hubbard’s pitcher standing strong. In the top of the fifth-inning, Italy’s defense returned the favor by making quick work of the Hubbard batters. Washington fielded a grounder and connecting with Beets for the first out. Lewis fields another dink to the mound and throws to Beets for out number two. Lewis strikes out Hubbard’s 3rd batter.

Italy’s lone highlight in the bottom of the fifth was Beets driving a solid liner into right field for a single. Unfortunately, Beets is caught trying to steal second and is tagged as she slides, 2 outs. Kelsey Nelson hits to third-base but is unable to beat the throw to first as Hubbard records the third out of the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Madison fields a grounder and throws to Beets at first for the first out. Hubbard hits a double. A bunt to the mound moves the Lady Jaguar to third, 2 outs. Hubbard doubles again to go up 4-0. Lewis has enough and strikes out Hubbard’s next batter looking.

Italy’s Washington turns a single into a double followed by a Lewis walk to put runners at first and second-base. But with 2 outs, Katie Byers grounds out to the mound for the third out and Italy is unable to capitalize. The top of the seventh brings the Lady Gladiators more troubles as Hubbard adds 2 runs on 2 hits and 1 error. Nelson gets Italy out of the jam by catching a high fly ball in left field but not before Hubbard takes a 6-0 lead.

Italy clings to hope but two batters ground out and a third goes down swinging as Hubbard hangs for the 6-0 win against Italy in the Lady Gladiators’ 2013 season opener.

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Go Lady Gladiators!