KANNAPOLIS – Tali Hagler struck out two batters in each of the first three innings, setting the pace for a solid complete-game victory in the Kannapolis Post 51 American Legion softball team’s 3-1 triumph over visiting Concord Post 51 in the first of a pair of five-inning games Tuesday at Kannapolis Middle School.
All eight of Hagler’s strikeouts came against the top six hitters in Concord’s batting order. Despite two walks, the Post 115 hurler didn’t allow a hit until Jailyn Tineo’s double off leftfielder Sam Holman’s glove in the fourth inning.
Protecting a 3-0 victory in the fifth, Hagler surrendered a one-out, opposite-field triple to the right-field corner to Rachel Earl. She scored on Kayla Douglas’ comebacker to the mound, and Hagler fittingly struck out the final batter of the game.
“Tali Hagler did a great job with her pitching tonight,” said Kannapolis coach Dean Mullinax.
Post 115 gave Hagler all the runs she needed in the first inning.
With one out, Lindsey Wolford hit a high fly over the head of the left fielder, and Wolford never slowed down as she headed toward third base. Kasey Lee’s throw beat Wolford to the base, but the base umpire motioned that Wolford slid under the tag.
Lauren Ritchie followed with a walk and stole second when the Concord catcher threw to third base instead in an attempted pick-off of Wolford. Like Ritchie, Kayla Smith walked on five pitches and loaded the bases.
On a two-strike pitch, Anna Blume drilled a double to right-center to score two. The next batter, Hagler, hit a too-hard-to-handle grounder to the shortstop, allowing Smith to score an unearned run.
Douglas, the Concord starting pitcher, was mostly effective despite the rocky first inning. The first five outs she recorded came by strikeout. She finished with six punchouts over a four-inning complete game.
“Kayla Douglas did a great job,” said Concord coach Charity Ballard. “She gave up three runs in the first inning, but one of them was unearned. She gave up one good hit, the other hit I’ll claim as the pitch-calling, and it was my fault.”
Concord could not take advantage of the few baserunners it had. Post 51 left runners in scoring position, both who had walked, in the first and third innings, in addition to Tineo being left stranded after her fourth-inning double.
Concord 000 01 – 1 2 1
Kannapolis 300 0x -- 3 4 0
Concord hits – Jailyn Tineo, Rachel Earl.
Kannapolis hits – Cam Shaffner, Lindsey Wolford, Anna Blume, Kaylee Yow.
Concord RBIs – Kayla Douglas.
Kannapolis RBIs – Blume 2.
WP: Tali Hagler (5 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K)
LP: Douglas (4 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 K)