WESTPHALIA, Mo. - Runs were hard to come by in the early part of Tuesday's softball game between Jefferson City and Fatima.
So when the Lady Jays had a chance to scratch one across in the top of the fourth, head coach Lisa Dey didn't hesitate putting on a squeeze play.
Taylor Dey got the bunt down to score freshman courtesy runner Lauren Neubauer from third to spark a two-run inning and Jefferson City went on to claim a 7-0 win against the Lady Comets.
"That couldn't have been done any better," Fatima coach Dana Scheppers said. "I think our girls were even ready for it. It was just something they did very well. When they got those two runs, I felt like our girls kind of just let down."
Jefferson City starting pitcher Alyssa Schulte threw a complete-game two-hitter as the Lady Jays improved to 4-0 on the season.
"She threw a great game, and to two-hit Fatima, that's big," Lisa Dey said. "Coach Scheppers has done a phenomenal job with that program and they've got a great ballteam. Coming in here, did I think the score would be as it is? Not at all."
After being limited to one hit in the first three innings, Schulte and Emily Williams led off the fourth with back-to-back singles and Brooke Rozier followed with a groundout to shortstop to advance the runners to second and third.
Taylor Dey laid down a bunt on the first pitch she saw from Leah Kesel to put the Lady Jays on the board first and Alex Gilliard followed with an RBI groundout to give Jefferson City a 2-0 lead.
"You've got to put the bat on any pitch that comes to you on a squeeze play," Taylor Dey said. "If you don't get it down, that runner is caught in a jam."
Fatima (3-1) had runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the fourth, but the Lady Comets couldn't get anything across.
"Honestly, we've been hitting the ball well all season," Scheppers said. "(Schulte) is a good pitcher and she shut us down tonight."
Schulte, who threw a four-hit shutout against St. Elizabeth last week, struck out one and walked three to improve to 3-0 this season. The right-hander threw 92 pitches, 57 for strikes.
"It was just a lot of moving pitches around and my defense was playing really well behind me," she said. "It gave me a lot more confidence on the mound."
Rozier singled in the sixth and Taylor Dey and Gilliard followed with back-to-back RBI doubles to extend Jefferson City's lead to four.
Schulte and Rozier both drove in a run in the seventh and the Lady Jays took advantage of an error to plate three runs in the top of the seventh.
Gilliard and Taylor Dey had two RBI, while Schulte and Rozier both added two hits and drove in a run apiece to lead the offensive attack for Jefferson City, which had nine hits.
"Tonight we hit the ball pretty well," Lisa Dey said. "It just took us a little while to get going."
Morgan Brandt and Kristin Boeckmann both had singles to lead the Lady Comets on the offensive end. Fatima stranded six baserunners and didn't advance anyone beyond second base.
"They're a good ballclub," Scheppers said. "Anytime you play Jefferson City, you've got to expect to bring your A game, and I don't feel like we did that tonight."
The Lady Jays, who have out-scored their opponents 33-8 through four games this season, return to action at 6:30 p.m. today when they host Helias. at the American Legion Post 5 Sports Complex.
"Crosstown rival, so it should be a good game," Taylor Dey said. "They've always been a good ballclub. We just need to keep our focus, play as a team and take it one out at a time."