By Collin Brooks
There isn’t a game calendar on the wall with x’s, or a board with a growing tally of wins, but there is a fixture hanging in the Lady Blazer’s locker room that helps remind them who they are.
“We just have a cleaning schedule,” Daniel Boone senior Kristen Hall said through a smile. “That’s all it says.”
Being grounded and not panicking are pillars of the Lady Blazers on the diamond, thanks to coach Jeremy Jenkins and staff, but it is something that has helped them this year. The Lady Blazers turned a 5-4 lead into a shortened contest in the span of a fourth inning barrage, which helped them gain a 14-4 win over Science Hill and grab their 18th straight victory.
“They’re just a really tight group that pull for each other,” Jenkins said. “Even over here when we were 5-4 and just kind of spinning our wheels, you didn’t see any panic in them. They just really pull for each other and they’re a close knit group with a lot of leadership.”
Blake West gave up 13 hits to the Lady Blazers in the loss, while Savannah Russell controlled the circle for Daniel Boone during the final two innings, after she gave up two in both the first and third innings.
The fourth inning started out fast for the Lady Blazers as Russell and Ashley Starnes reached base. Freshman Jaycie Jenkins joined them to load the base pads and two runs were brought in by senior Rachel Vittetoe to start the scoring. Senior Lexi McDowell would drive in the next run.
Hall cleared the bases with a 3-run shot to make the score 11-4. Nikolette Ferguson , Jaclyn Painter, Megan Ackerman, and Russell would rip base hits, with Russell driving in the last two runs of the contest.
While the streak isn’t in his mind, Jenkins said he is aware the wins are racking up in Big 7 Conference play.
“All I know is that we are 6-0 in the league, that’s all I worry about,” he said when prompted about the win streak. “I’m not really worried about all that streak stuff, we are just coming out here and taking it game-by-game.”
In this game, Jenkins said that he wasn’t pleased with the early errors by his team, as they tallied three in the first three innings.
Errors were also a bug that bit Science Hill as they finished with multiple fielding errors.
“We king of gave them four of their first five and you can’t to that with them, they are too good a team,” Science Hill coach Jerry Higgins said. “And then we didn’t compete in the fourth inning.”
Lexi McDowell got things going for Daniel Boone with a home run to left field in the first inning, bringing home Vittetoe.
The Lady Toppers were able to answer after Mackenzie Powell drove home Meredith Jackson and Mia Edwardson.
Jaclyn Painter her way home in the second inning to give the Lady Blazers the 3-2 lead. In the third, Boone would expand on their lead after #1 reached on a single and later scored the fourth run of the contest. The fifth was scored when Hall came home.
Science Hill was able to add two more runs in the third inning when Bennett was brought home by Edwardson and later Shayna Price scored Edwardson.
But those would be the final runs for the Lady Toppers.
“We answered when they scored, but when they go up to 14, you kind of have a letdown,” he said. “We just didn’t compete in that fourth inning and that is the embarrassing part of it.”
Jenkins credited the seniors with the current success for Daniel Boone.
“Some of our seniors are really stepping up for us,” Jenkins said. “A lot of our kids are doing a lot of good things for us and we are just playing really well right now.”
Some of that can be credited to the pitching staff of Russell, Ackerman and Ferguson. While Russell earned her eighth win of the season in the circle tonight, Ferguson has nine wins, while Ackerman has four or five wins for herself, according to Jenkins.
“As a group, if you get the same result, from a defensive point you have an advantage because they don’t know who you might throw at them,” Jenkins said. “And all of them throw strikes and they don’t walk anybody, but we have to make the plays behind them.”
A senior leader, Hall said that the success boils down to the things she has learned while she’s been at Boone.
“They’ve always coached leadership,” Hall said, “and the seniors last year did a good job of in the crunch times, being the ones to pull through and it’s our turn this year.