SHERIDAN — The Sheridan softball team has had a nearly perfect season to date.
The only thing keeping it from being a perfect start was a 3-0 loss to White Hall on March 11. It was the second game of the season for both teams.
The Lady Jackets successfully avenged that loss on Tuesday afternoon thanks to clutch performances from a senior class, which has a record of 94-12 in their four seasons.
Sydney Bonner pitched a complete-game shutout while fellow 12th-graders Lauren Mitchell, Morgan White and Hunter Clark keyed a big fifth inning, as Sheridan picked up a 4-0 home win.
“This is the closest I’ve seen this team in my four years,” Clark said. “We’re not really teammates; we’re more like sisters.
“We all have one goal and that’s make it there.”
The “there” Clark refers to is the 6A state final — a very realistic goal considering Sheridan has reached the semifinals two of the past three years. Clark said the difference this time might be a more experienced group.
“We’re older for one thing,” she said. “We have five seniors and six juniors.
“We have a sophomore catcher, but she has a lot of experience. We also have a ton of freshmen that can help if we need them.”
Those five seniors came up with clutch performances in the latter stages of Tuesday’s game.
With the game still scoreless, Sheridan (18-1) had the top of its order coming up in the fifth.
Mitchell, who had grounded out twice to third, fell behind 0-2 but was able to coax a walk from White Hall’s Karia Hall.
“Before I came up to bat, Coach said, ‘Get it started,’” Mitchell said. “I went up there just trying to get on anyway I could.
“After I got down 0-2, I just tried to get it to 3-2 and make (Hall) pitch to me and not chase anything out of the zone.”
With Mitchell on first, Bonner laid down a sacrifice bunt. Catcher Maddie Martin threw Bonner out at first, but miscommunication by White Hall (12-5) left third base uncovered and Mitchell was able to take an extra 60 feet on the play.
White stepped up the plate with a chance to drive in the game’s first run.
Down 1-0 in the count, White tried to call time but the home plate umpire didn’t grant it. She wasn’t fazed and drove in the game’s first run with an RBI single to second base.
“That’s Morgan White,” Sheridan coach Eddie Woodall said. “You wouldn’t know if she’s 0 for 4 or 4 for 4.
“She always plays the same way.”
An RBI triple by Clark, who later scored on a groundout by sophomore Corbin Talbert, helped break the game open.
“I was just really doing bad,” Clark said. “I went up there and wanted to redeem myself.
“I knew one of us had to score eventually.”
Madison Crosby — Sheridan’s other senior — helped plate an insurance run in the sixth inning. Crosby had the middle hit of three straight singles, the last of which came off Mitchell’s bat to bring in junior Olivia Reed.
“I always like to play Sheridan,” Lady Bulldogs coach Terri Smith said. “They always bring their A-game. They let you know where you are at.
“Splitting with Sheridan is not bad.”
The last two innings spoiled a great pitchers’ duel between Bonner and Hall. An interesting duel that saw just one combined strikeout.
“That’s exactly what Sydney does,” Woodall said of his strikeout-less pitcher. “She averages about two to five (strikeouts) a game.
“But she does a good job of making them hit it where we expect it.”
“They both pitched exceptionally well,” Smith said. “It was a warm day — probably the warmest day we’ve played on — and they were able to stay in there and pitch.
“It’s only going to get warmer, so that’s what they have to do.”
Clark said her team was impressed with the way Bonner kept battling even though the offense was struggling to score.
“We were really proud of her,” she said. “It was really hot. … She was definitely feeling it.
“As soon as the inning would end, she got in the dugout and sat right down. It was probably the hottest game we’ve played.”
Mitchell said the camaraderie Sheridan has helps the Lady ’Jackets battle through tough games like Tuesday’s contest.
“It’s a lot easier to play with people you get along with,” she said. “You always want to do your best for them.”