Shore wins as CM defense falters late

MILL HALL — If Jersey Shore’s game against Central Mountain was indicative of the softball program’s direction, then the Bulldogs certainly have a bright future ahead of them.

On the road in Mill Hall, the Bulldogs buried the Wildcats, 4-0, to record its third consecutive win to open the season.

Jersey Shore pitcher Kylie Russell continued her dominance in the circle. She fired a shutout, striking out three and surrendering just three hits.

“I thought we had really good pitching from Kylie tonight, she threw a heck of a game,” Jersey Shore coach Randy Smith said. “She had her pitches working, she kept them off balance.”

Russell’s command flustered the Wildcats. Until Madison Knepp’s fifth-inning leadoff single, Russell had allowed just one CM batter to reach base.

“Their pitcher just pitched really well and had us off-balance all game,” Central Mountain coach Benjamin Trew said. “We didn’t do a very good job of hitting off her, it just came down to that. She just had a very good day.”

In the opening inning, Jersey Shore’s offense had Central Mountain in a jam. After leadoff hitter Gabrielle Vuocolo reached base following a CM error, McKenna Russell and Brianna Herman recorded back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs.

Lexi Schuler then drew a bases-loaded walk to put Shore ahead, 1-0. But Jersey Shore failed to capitalize with three runners on base. CM pitcher Cait Brush got Alyssa Stover to ground into a double play and struck out Arizona Shreck to end the inning.

For Central Mountain, it was one of two double plays it turned. In the top of the sixth, shortstop Skylar Smith made the second when she leaped and grabbed Schuler’s line drive out of the air and fired it to first for the double play. The two plays were a bright spot for Central Mountain’s defense, which struggled and committed five errors in the game.

“Those are the types of things I think we’re a little bit more used to seeing, that type of defense whenever we get ourselves into tough positions,” Trew said. “But we just didn’t have it tonight.”

Central Mountain’s defense began to faulter in the seventh.

Jersey Shore leadoff hitter Alyssa Stover cracked a routine fly to left center field, but miscommunication between Central Mountain’s outfielders allowed the ball to drop, putting Stover on second. Next batter up, Arizona Shreck attempted a sacrifice bunt but reached base on an error after a bad throw. After Josie Dershem corralled the loose ball, she attempted to throw out Stover heading home, but a wide throw to the catcher allowed Stover to score, extending Jersey Shore’s lead 2-0.

Hailey Stetts soon recorded an RBI single to put the Bulldogs ahead, 3-0. Gabrielle Vuocolo’s sacrifice fly extended JS’s lead 4-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Jersey Shore 4, Central Mountain 3

JS 100 000 3 — 4 4 2

CM 000 000 0 — 0 3 5

WP–Kylie Russell (JS) LP–Cait Brush (CM).

Top Jersey Shore hitters: McKenna Russell, 1-2; Hailey Stetts, 1-2, RBI. Top Central Mountain hitters: Cait Brush, 1-2; Madison Knepp, 1-2.