Jefferson City battles throughout Classic, posts 2-2 record

Jefferson City’s Jaela Nickerson is congratulated by coach Zac Miller as she rounds third base after hitting a solo home run Saturday against Macon in the ninth-place game of the Lady Jays Classic at Binder Park. (Greg Jackson/News Tribune)

The Jefferson City Lady Jays only played in a single one-run game through their first 12 contests this season.

They played in three one-run games this weekend during the Lady Jays Classic at Binder Park.

“It seemed like each game had that one inning,” Jefferson City coach Zac Miller said after the Lady Jays lost 4-3 to the Macon Tigerettes in Saturday’s ninth-place game.

“In one game, it worked out in our favor. In two of them, it did not.”

On Friday, Jefferson City lost 1-0 to Cape Girardeau Notre Dame and won 8-7 against Hickman.

In the loss to Macon, getting batters on base was no trouble for the Lady Jays. The difficultly proved to be getting them to cross home plate.

“We left too many runners on base,” Miller said. “In a low-scoring game, you look back and we left eight on. That always comes back to haunt you in a one-run ballgame.”

Jefferson City left the bases loaded in the first inning and stranded two runners in both the second and third innings.

Amelia Cripe score on a two-out error to begin the scoring in the second inning for the Lady Jays. Macon answered with a two-out RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score at 1.

Jaela Nickerson untied the game with a solo home run to left-center field. It was her first homer of the season and just the second in 16 games for the Lady Jays as a team.

“She’s doing really well,” Miller said. “She’s got a good batting average going, and every now and then, she’s got a little pop in her barrel.”

Cripe extended the lead to 3-1 with an RBI single of the second baseman’s glove, scoring Lyndsie Albright.

However, Macon had back-to-back RBI hits in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 3. Then, in the fifth, the Tigerettes took the lead on a throwing error moments before the game was called due to time limit.

“They only left two runners on base,” Miller said. “They got the job done when their girls got on base.”

Nickerson had two of Jefferson City’s five hits, adding a single in the first inning.

Summer Branch pitched four-plus innings for the Lady Jays, giving up four runs on six hits while striking out five batters.

In Saturday’s first game, Jefferson City defeated Lee’s Summit North 8-0. It’s the sixth time the two teams have met in the Classic since 2009, each team winning three times.

“You never know what you’re going to get after a rain delay,” Miller said, as Saturday’s first games were pushed back an hour due to rain. “You sit there and wait, wondering, ‘Is everybody going to wake up and be ready to play or not?’

“It was good for the girls to come out and get the bats going.”

Kaylee Redcay led the Jefferson City offense, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double in the second inning and a two-run double in the fourth.

Albright had two singles and two RBI, while Nickerson and Finley Walker each finished with two singles.

Branch pitched a five-hit shutout, striking out two batters without yielding a walk.

The Lady Jays took 10th place out of 16 teams in their home tournament.

Jefferson City (8-8) plays Tuesday at Russellville.

“We’ve put in a lot of games so far,” Miller said. “We’ve got to do a better job of minimizing extra bases when girls get on and do a better job of getting runners in.”