MIDDLETOWN >> William Jackson offered his granddaughter some simple advice when she stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and the game tied in the bottom of the eighth.
“I was so nervous, I couldn’t focus,” said Vinal Tech senior Jasmine Jackson. “Then my grandpa said, ‘Aim for the fence.’ He always tells me I’ve got power so use power behind the bat. It worked.”
Jackson had a key two-run double in her last at-bat that helped the Hawks rally from a four-run deficit in the sixth. And she delivered again.
Jackson lined a single to right field that scored sophomore Donna Agogliati with the winning run as the Hawks snapped a six-game skid with a thrilling, 12-11, victory against Cheney Tech on Thursday at the Serra Sports Complex.
“We needed a win,” said Vinal Tech coach Joe Cefaratti. “A win cures all. It was a fun game for the kids to play and to come out on top made it even better.”
The Hawks (3-11) avenged a similar Constitution State Conference loss one week ago when the Beavers scored in the bottom of the seventh to prevail, 18-17, at Manchester.
“We’re mirror image teams,” said Cheney Tech coach Al Hovasse. “Our defense couldn’t hold it and Vinal hit very well today.”
Keianna Kennan went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s, while Krytsal Jackson, who reached base five times, and Katrina Wilkins each scored two runs for Cheney Tech.
The Beavers (4-12) took advantage of some wildness from Hawks freshman pitcher Jasmyn Patterson, who walked 13 and hit four batters, to grab leads of 6-2 and 11-7.
But Patterson regrouped, blanking Cheney over the final two innings while striking out three. The righthander finished with 12 strikeouts.
“In the middle innings she started to lose it a little bit but then she refocused,” said Cefaratti. “And that’s the key. And she’s got Karen (Agogliati) behind the plate, who is one of the best catcher’s in the league so that helps.”
Patterson also sparked the Hawks’ comeback by blasting a home run to lead off the sixth against Cheney reliever Kristen Cherest. Now trailing 11-8, Donna Agogliati and Angela Sidorski (2-for-5) kept the rally going with singles. Agogliati was called out on the base paths for interference but Karen Agogliati, who had two hits and three runs scored, reached on an error. Jackson (3-for-3) then lined a two out, two-run double to center. The Beavers outfield made an error on the relay throw and Jackson raced home with the tying run.
“Jasmine Jackson has been hitting the ball very well,” said Cefaratti. “Even in the games we’ve been out of she’s made great contact. Then we get her speed on the base paths, which helps.”
Donna Agogliati was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Sidorski singled to center and Karen Agogliati drew a walk, loading the bases for Jackson.
“I just wanted to put it in play and get the run,” said Jackson. “We’ve had some tough games that we haven’t won so this is really good.”