Byrd principal Jerry Badgley has been out of coaching for awhile, but he still knows a good hitter in a prime situation when he sees one. That’s why he turned to Byrd football coach Mike Suggs in the third inning of Tuesday’s softball game with Claire Hyde at the plate in a crucial situation.
“If they get a pitch up to this one, it’s going out,” he predicted.
Sure enough, Hyde took a Jamie Roberts offering and lofted it just inside the left field foul pole for a 3-run blast that staked the Lady Jackets to a 5-0 win over Airline, clinching the District 1-5A championship for first-year coach Mark Lambert. It was Byrd’s first league title since 2011.
“It feels great,” Lambert said succinctly.
The Lady Jackets (18-10, 5-0) got a masterful pitching performance from senior Sarah Long, who kept the visitors off-balance despite not being able to count on her best pitch.
“Sarah’s main pitch is a curve over the outside and she wasn’t getting that tonight,” Lambert said. “But she adjusted well to what she was getting and pitched very well.”
The Lady Vikings (14-9, 4-2) out-hit Byrd 5-4 but couldn’t capitalize on more than a half-dozen base runners generated in the contest. It was a frustrating night for Airline coach Lynne Roberts.
“You can take nothing away from Byrd. Their top five batters have hit home runs, so we tried to pitch around them carefully and use off-speed stuff,” Roberts said. “But then they got the home run … we got more hits than they did but ours were more spread out.”
Tara Schuler got the Lady Jackets off and running in the first when she walked and scored on a double by Emily Daniel. Airline got singles from Lindsay Fronzaglio and Ashley Salinas in the first and second innings but left both stranded at first.
“We adjusted well at the plate tonight,” Schuler said.