Injuries and losses have plagued the Jackson Christian softball team over the last three weeks. One led to another, but the downward spiral continued game after game.
Jackson Christian proved on Monday the ability the team has when healthy.
Kayla Forsythe and Jenna Arnold combined for a no-hitter as the Lady Eagles beat Madison 7-0 at home.
“We have our injuries healed, and we are back in the game,” Jackson Christian coach Jennifer Wheeler said. “This was a big win for us.”
Jackson Christian (8-9) sits at 4-6 in District 15-A with a doubleheader against Middleton on Tuesday. If the Lady Eagles sweep, they could finish as high as No. 3 in the district. Madison (10-7) could have solidified the No. 3 seed with a win, but the loss drops them to what is expected to be a three-way tie.
Arnold, a Jackson Christian eighth-grader, has been one of the Lady Eagles who has been hurt over the last couple of weeks. Forsythe has had to step into the circle during Arnold’s injury.
“Kayla has done a great job for us during Jenna’s injury,” Wheeler said. “We told her just to do her best, and the defense will back you up.”
Forsythe went 3.2 innings and Arnold went the final 3.1 innings for the no-hit win. The two allowed seven baserunners on walks and hit batters. Arnold struck out five.
Madison pitcher Alexus Jimmerson, a Jacksonville State commit, kept the Lady Mustangs in the game, but four unearned runs in the first five innings gave Jackson Christian the lead.
Jimmerson allowed three earned runs on 11 hits, striking out four and walking four.
The Lady Eagles broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning as Courtney Kiestler, who went 3-for-4, singled to right field, and Sophie Dunavant, who also went 3-for-4, came home as the ball was misplayed in the outfield.
“Once we realized where she was throwing them, we just had to drive the ball,” Kiestler said. “We had to do a job. Everybody did a good job on offense.
“Our defensive effort was like our offense. Everybody played their part and did their job.”
Jackson Christian scored three more in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Dunavant and a two-RBI single by Kiestler.
“We finally puts hits together,” Wheeler said. “We gained confidence out on the field today.”
Three more runs in the sixth inning finished off the scoring for the Lady Eagles as Dunavant hit a two-RBI single to left field and Kayla Cisco scored on a passed ball.
“This was definitely a big win for us,” Kiestler said. “We had to show everyone that we have the players and the talent to be good. We had to prove ourselves.”
Jackson Christian must now try to get two more wins Tuesday for a high seed, while Madison will wait until Wednesday’s district meeting to find out its seed. The tournament starts on Friday with the No. 2 through No. 7 seeds playing.
Michael Odom, 425-9754