By GREG MENGELT
NEW ALBANY —
It’s safe to say Marissa Jones won’t forget her first varsity plate appearance.
With two outs and her New Albany Bulldogs deadlocked with Silver Creek in the sixth inning, the freshman hit a pinch-hit RBI double to plate pinch-runner Abigail Bradley with the winning run.
“If the situation came up with runners on, I was going to use her,” New Albany coach Steve Belden said. “I wanted to use her and she came up big. She showed me something.”
“That was definitely an awesome feeling to have a pinch hitter come out of nowhere and hit an awesome ball,” Bulldog catcher Danielle Williamson said.
Hannah Morton led off the sixth with a walk, only the second issued by Silver Creek ace Shayla Cravens. Williamson followed with a perfect sacrifice bunt. After Kennedy Wynn flew out to deep right field, Jones replaced Kate Renner in the lineup. She belted a Cravens pitch into the left-field corner, allowing Bradley to easily score.
Williamson went 2 for 2 with a single, a double and the Bulldogs’ first RBI to tie the game in the fourth inning. However, it was Williamson’s sacrifice that impressed Belden.
“That was big for us,” he said. “People may have been asking, ‘What’s he doing?” But in that situation, you have to get the runner over.”
“I’m pleased with the way I played since it was the first game,” Williamson said.
Even without two important bats — McKenzie Bush and Alexis Barnett, who had school commitments — Silver Creek jumped on New Albany starter Hannah Morton early. With one out in the first, Heather Knight hit a double down the left-field line. One out later, Cravens singled her home.
The Dragons held the lead until the bottom of the fourth.
“I have to commend our kids,” Silver Creek coach Dave Harvey said. “New Albany came out and played well. It was a good game for both of us. If we play like that, things look good for us. I’m encouraged. Our kids have nothing to hang their heads about. I’m proud of them.”
After the run in the first, Morton shut down the Dragons. She allowed just four hits and struck out seven.
“I knew since it was the first game, that might happen,” Williamson said of Morton surrendering an early run, “but I knew she would work her way out of it. And we got the win.”
“They earned that run in the first inning. Hannah controlled the game the rest of the way for us,” Belden said.
Cravens gave up just two runs and struck out eight Bulldogs. She was also 2 for 3 at the plate.
Both teams were happy to just get on the field. Creek was scheduled to open on Monday and play against Tuesday, but both were rained out. Wednesday game was supposed to be New Albany’s sixth of the season.
“We’re tired of playing in the gym,” Harvey said. “We have 17 freshmen and sophomores, so we needed to get out on the field.”
“The big thing is we were able to get outside,” Belden said. “It was good to get to see them in a game situation.”
NEW ALBANY 2, SILVER CREEK 1
Silver Creek 100 000 0—1 4 1
New Albany 000 101 x—2 5 0
W — Hannah Morton (1-0). L — Shayla Cravens (0-1). 2B — Heather Knight (S), Cravens (S), Williamson (N), Marissa Jones (N).
Records — Silver Creek 1-0, New Albany 0-1.