Chandler's hard-luck losing streak came to an end Thursday afternoon at the expense of Skyline, a team equally as young with more success to date for its toil.
In a game featuring great pitching and flawless defense, Chandler managed to manufacture a second-inning run to defeat Skyline, 1-0, in a Division I softball game at Chandler High.
“We're real young with seven freshmen and sophomores,” first-year coach Jamee Henry said. “We graduated nine seniors. We started out strong, finished second in our first tournament. We've been on a tough streak and it's shocked us a little, but things are starting to get better.”
Chandler, which started half of its freshmen and sophpomores, snapped a seven game losing streak, among them five games decided by two runs or less. The Lady Wolves had dropped 11 of their last 12 after starting the year 7-3. With junior pitcher Alexis McCleary throwing at least 80 percent first strilkes, she limited Skyline to six hits and allowed only two runners to reach second base or better. McCleary fanned six and did not walk a batter.
“This was the third game in a row for her this week,” Henry said. “She was hitting her spots. We made the plays behind her, and got her a run.”
McCleary's counterpart, Skyline senior Shea Wilson, was equally effective Wilson scattered seven hits, walked one and struck out one. She induced 13 routine ground outs. The walk she issued, given up grudgingly, turned out to be the runner that scored.
Wilson's walk was to Chandler catcher Sabrina Bryant leading off the bottom of the second. Bryant fouled off some pitches and walked on a 3-2 pitch. Her courtesy runner, Jenesis Outain, was bunted to second and scored on a two-out, fly ball single to right-centerfield by designated hitter Sharilyn Sakamoto. Outain just beat the well-executed relay throw home.
In the top of the fourth another relay throw proved important and this one was successful. After a two-out single by Skyline's Lynzee Bollinger, teammate Alisa Couch ripped a double over the head of right fielder Katie Cunningham. Cunningham hit second baseman Sydney Behrens with a solid cutoff throw and Behrens fired a strike to Bryant, who put a swipe tag on Bollinger just before she touched the plate.
Skyline got a one-out triple in the first inning by Maddie Mercer, but she was stranded at third. With two outs in the top of the seventh and Bollinger at second, McCleary got Tara Bailey to fly out to center for the final out.
Skyline, which is now 17-4 overall and 8-2 in power-ranking games had one player with two hits — Bollinger. Skyline had a 14-game winning streak broken last last week. Chandler is 9-15 and 3-7 prg. The Lady Wolves have eight power-ranking games left and hope to catch fire to make a late run. Kate Gross and Carly Knolles had two hits apiece for Chandler. Knolles also out down the sacrifice bunt in the second that set up the only run.