RALEIGH — Jordan-Matthews’ batters couldn’t find an answer to East Rutherford’s mighty-mite Savannah Davis Friday night.
But Davis had just enough answers in the pitching circle and at the plate, as East Rutherford handed the Jets a 2-1 defeat in the opening game of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A softball championship series.
Davis had enough concentrated oomph to baffle the Jets at the plate in giving the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
With their backs against the wall, the Jets must regroup in a hurry if they want to bring the championship back to Siler City .
Game No. 2 is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday on field No. 2 at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex, and should Jordan-Matthews even the series with a victory, the third and deciding game is scheduled for 3 p.m.
The Jets put their first two batters on base against Davis, who struck out six and walked two, but couldn’t get the timely hit needed to push an early run across.
Davis, meanwhile, answered the call in her first at-bat, sending a grounder to third and using her speed to beat the throw for a single.
A wild pitch by Jets hurler Holly Clark sent Davis to second, and Ashlynn Vickers made the Jets pay for the miscue with an RBI single to right, with Davis flying around the bases for the first run of the night.
Davis burned Jordan-Matthews in the second inning as well, as the Jets had trouble with their infield defense.
Jenna Carter rapped a single to center to open the inning for the Cavaliers (26-3), champions of the West Regional and the South Mountain Athletic Conference.
Christian Beheler laid down a bunt that the Jets had trouble fielding, moving Carter to second.
Matters went from bad to worse for the Jets, when an error at shortstop left the bases loaded with one out.
A fielder’s choice erased Carter at the plate, but Davis sent a chopper back to Clark, who found no one covering first for what should have been the final out and allowing Beheler to score what would be the winning run.
Clark took control after that, ending the night with 11 strikeouts and two walks, surrendering eight hits.
“We just didn’t do our jobs tonight,” said Jets coach Chris Mote. “If we had we would have scored at least three runs tonight.”
The Jets finally found an answer to Davis in their half of the third, capitalizing on a lead-off walk to Kaitlin James.
James moved to second on a sacrifice by Hannah Stackhouse and third on Madison Poe’s grounder.
Dee DeChristofaro’s RBI-single to right drove in James for the Jets’ only run of the night.
Davis slammed the door for the next three innings, retiring 10 of 12 batters in that stretch.
The Jets threatened again in the seventh inning, using a one-out hit by Katie Black, and an error on a pop-up by James, giving Jordan-Matthews runners on first and second with one out.
Alestra Lask, running for Black, reached third on an infield fly by Stackhouse, but Poe’s two-out shot to center was snared on a shoestring grab to end the game.
Poe led the Jets at the plate with a 2-for-3 effort, while Davis was 2 for 3 for the Cavaliers and Vickers finished 2 for 2.
“We didn’t hit the ball like we should have,” Mote said. “If we hit the ball tomorrow (Saturday) then we should be able to win the game.”