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Lady Devils edge Northview in pitchers duel

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
It was only fitting for the matchup between Escambia County High School's Melissa Jones and Northview High School's Stephanie Hayes to end on an error in the bottom of the final inning.
Strikes were frequent and hits very hard to come by. But, in the bottom of the seventh inning a throwing error by the Lady Chief defense allowed Rachel Garrett to score from first base to give ECHS a 1-0 win over their Florida neighbors.
Hayes, who had thrown two no-hitters coming into the game, was in the zone again as she did not give up a hit to the Devil offense.
In collecting her third no-hitter, Hayes struck out 14 ECHS batters. Her only walk was to Garrett which led to the loss.
Meanwhile, Jones' pitching was almost as dominating. She collected the victory and struck out 13 Lady Chiefs. Northview did collect eight hits against the Devils' ace, but they were never able to get the hit they needed to get on the board.
It was destined to be a low-scoring affair and NHS Head Coach Sammy Day said it was exactly what he thought it would be.
Garrett came around from first to score the winning run on a bunt by Hayes. When the ball was fielded it was thrown to first. Garrett rounded second base and was headed to third when the Lady Chiefs made the critical error. As the ball was thrown to third base, there was nobody there to catch it.
Northview, and Jones, have a season record of 7-3. Jones has collected 129 strikeouts in only 63 innings of work.
The Lady Chiefs will play a doubleheadeer against area opponent Freeport Thursday beginning at 3 p.m.