LAKELAND — Going into Monday night’s game, it seemed that it would be just a matter of time before George Jenkins put away Lakeland so it could focus on Wednesday’s championship game against Bartow.
And sure enough, the Eagles finally put away the Dreadnaughts in the sixth inning when backup catcher Kady Trotter ripped a single to center to drive in Brooklyn Cordona for the final run the their 10-0 victory in the semifinals of the Class 8A, District 11 softball tournament.
So even though Jenkins’ win seemed inevitable, it doesn’t mean that George Jenkins coach Jeff Lang was taking anything for granted. The Eagles respect the talents of Lakeland players like shortstop Tori Copeland, third baseman Kenzie Nix and center fielder Miranda Muriel, and Lang recalled to his team the year Jenkins went into the district tournament as the top seed and lost in the first round to an eight seed.
“The biggest chore we had tonight was to get through this ball game,” said Lang, whose team will play Bartow at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Kathleen in the title game. “We did not hit well in the game, and we were flat at the beginning of the game.”
George Jenkins (20-5) appeared on its way of making quick work of Lakeland (8-18) by scoring two runs in the first inning. Olivia Davis, in the leadoff spot now after Lang’s recently revamped batting order, and Reagan More led off with singles, and Janessa Plummer walked to load the bases with no outs.
Lakeland limited the damage by getting a force at home for the first out. Paityn More’s sacrifice fly drove in Reagan More, and Plummer scored on an error.
Lakeland pitcher Kylie Wensch the got the Eagles 1-2-3 in the second and gave up just a hit and a walk in the third to keep the game close.
The Eagles broke the game open with five runs in the fourth, three coming after an error on what should have been the third out. Madelyn Graham had an RBI double in the inning, and Davis and Paityn More had RBI singles. Reagan More and also drove in a run with her infield groundout.
Graham’s bases loaded double in the fifth drove in two runs to put the Eagles up 9-0.
Reagan More retired the first nine batters she faced and did not allow a hit until Copeland’s one-out single in the fourth that put runners on first and third. Muriel had walked to lead off the inning. More than got the next two batters to ground out to short. Joslyn Guzman and Nix had the Dreadnaughts’ other two hits as More finished with a three-hitter with five strikeouts.
“Reagan was really sharp tonight,” Lang said.