The University School of Jackson softball program has proven over the past several years it is among the elite programs in West Tennessee.
They Lady Bruins have finished among the top three in Division II-A over the past five years and look to be making another strong push toward contending for a state championship this year.
The Lady Bruins took another step forward on Tuesday night as they defeated the Jackson Christian 5-0.
USJ gave the ball to ace pitcher, Ally McFarland, who pitched a complete game shutout, while striking out 11 batters.
“Ally is a very good pitcher,” USJ head coach Brian Dunn said. “She won over 20 games for us last year and pitched very well again for us tonight. Ally did a great job of keeping the hitters off balance and mixed up her pitches very well. She gives us a really good chance to win every time when she is mixing her pitches and hitting her spots.”
McFarland started the game slow but got stronger with each inning.
In the top of the first, Jackson Christian leadoff batter Kasie Lynch hit a triple into the right-center gap.
McFarland worked her way out of the jam by getting a pop-out followed by two strikeouts.
The USJ offense wasted no time putting runs on the board in the bottom of the first as they scored all five of their runs in the opening inning.
USJ’s Kristen Pickens, Addison Dunn, Anna Rice, and McFarland all had RBI in the inning, forcing the Lady Eagles into a pitching change.
The five-run lead USJ built in the first inning was enough to allow McFarland to dominate in the circle.
The third and fourth innings were McFarland’s most impressive as she struck out five straight batters in the heart of the Jackson Christian lineup.
The Lady Bruins also found themselves facing some great pitching as well as Jackson Christian’s Jenna Arnold came in relief in the first inning for the Lady Eagles.
Arnold gave up no runs over six innings pitched while keeping the USJ hitters contained.
“She did a great job for JCS,” Dunn said. “We got those five runs in the first inning, and we were hitting the ball very well. She came in for them and did a great job of giving them a chance to get back in it. She kept our hitters off balance and did a good job of mixing up pitches.”
USJ moves to 12-2 on the season with several tough games left to play.
“We go to a tournament this weekend and will be playing some very tough teams that we normally don’t get to see around here,” Dunn said. “We look forward to the competition as it gives us the opportunity to get better against some outstanding teams.”