Prep softball: Fort girls blank West Muskingum 9-0

CAMBRIDGE – Jada Baker tossed a complete game, four-hit shutout, and Natalie Smith and Lexi Skinner drove in three runs apiece as the Fort Frye Lady Cadets opened sectional tournament play with a convincing 9-0 win over the West Muskingum Lady Tornadoes Wednesday night at Cambridge City Park.

Baker allowed a runner to reach second base only twice in the game as the Fort Frye freshman struck out nine batters while walking just two.

The game actually started on Tuesday evening but was suspended due to thunderstorms in the second inning with the Lady Cadets leading 1-0.

That run came on a first inning home run by shortstop Hali Lemasters.

“Hali really got us started with that home run,” said Fort Frye head coach Barb Sleek of Lemaster’s long ball which came on two strikes after the first two Cadet hitters had went down on strikes.

“She’s a senior and that was a big hit to get us on the scoreboard first.”

Although the way Baker pitched that one run would have been plenty enough for the Cadets to advance, their offense went back to work when play resumed on Wednesday.

Lemasters, Michelle Adkins and Tanner Booth connected on back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases and Smith made it a 3-0 game with a solid two-run single to left field.

Skinner’s infield ground out scored Booth from third base and gave the Fort a 4-0 lead.

The Cadets added another run in the fourth when Adkins reached base on a two-out walk, moved to third when Booth doubled off the fence in left field and came in to score on a wild pitch.

The Lady Cadets broke things wide open by sending eight hitters to the plate in the last of the sixth inning as they scored four more times to take a 9-0 lead.

Fort Frye scored one run on a wild pitch, another on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Smith, and capped the scoring with Skinner’s two-run double down the left field line.

Sleek was quite pleased with the way her young team swung the sticks in the game.

“Our girls were really focused at the plate and attacked well,” said Sleek of the Cadet offense that pounded out ten base hits in the game. “I thought even a lot of our outs were hard outs.”

Baker allowed a lead off double in the top of the seventh before finishing strong by fanning the final three Lady Tornado hitters to notch her 11th win of the season against nine losses.

“I thought Jada hit her spots really well tonight,” said Sleek.

“That was one of her best starts and it came at a great time.”

The Lady Cadets (11-10) will make their third consecutive trip up Interstate-77 today when they return to Cambridge to take on Sugarcreek Garaway at 5 p.m.