Bears roll to 9-2 win behind complete game by Jackson
Although its season might be over, the Rifle Bears softball team went out with a bang on Thursday, knocking off the Meeker Cowboys behind Kaitlyn Jackson’s nine-strikeout complete-game performance and Kaitlyn Harris nearly hitting for the cycle.
The Bears scored three runs in the second inning before plating four in the fourth inning against the Cowboys.
Freshman Amanda Green led off the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off double to get things rolling for Rifle.
Harris then followed up with a double of her own to drive in Green. From there, Harris scored on an error forced by Payton Caldwell putting the ball in play.
Mackyla Parsons singled following the error to put two runners on for Shaeley Arneson. The freshman came through with a big two-run single to cap off the scoring for the inning, giving the Bears a big lead they wouldn’t relinquish thanks to Jackson’s performance on the mound.
The freshman starter turned in her finest game of the season, striking out nine Cowboys in the complete game performance while walking none.
“This was easily her best outing of the year,” Bears head coach Troy Phillips said. “Her last two or three starts she’s done a good job of commanding the zone and hitting her spots, controlling the game.”
Backing Jackson’s performance on the mound, Harris finished a home run shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 in the win.
Parson also finished 3-for-4 with all three hits falling for singles.
But it was Harris who served as the catalyst for the offense in the lopsided win.
“She’s hit the ball well all year long,” Phillips said. “Towards the middle of the year she really took off and became our best hitter down the stretch.”
With the win, the Bears wrap up the regular season with a record of 8-11 (2-4 WSL).
Despite having a young team full of freshmen and sophomores, Phillips is pleased with the way the Bears responded to a tough start to close the year winning five of their last six.
“I’m just really pleased with how we finished,” Phillips said. “We played our best ball at the end of the year, so hopefully that encourages the girls to keep working and getting better. They played excellent down the stretch, and I couldn’t have asked for more from them.”
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