By Maurice Patton
MT. PLEASANT – Much like her number-sake, Ashleia Coble was virtually a one-player wrecking crew for Zion Christian during Monday’s matchup with host Mt. Pleasant.
The freshman allowed just three hits while striking out 10, and went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run and four RBIs, pacing the Lady Eagles to a 12-0, five-inning victory.
“I’ve been working on my hitting for a while,” Coble said. “I’m probably more excited about the home run. It’s only my second one of the year, so I’m happy about that.”
With the dominant win, Zion Christian (6-7) picked up where it left off offensively last week – compiling 50 runs in wins over Grace Christian (21-5), Christ Presbyterian Academy (18-3) and Battle Ground Academy (11-0) before hitting a dry spell.
Over the weekend, Zion fell 4-3 in a Friday contest against visiting Columbia Central before splitting a Saturday doubleheader with Cornersville, losing 15-0 before earning a 3-0 decision.
“We’re relaxed,” said Coble, who wears the same jersey number – 93 – as former Nebraska and current NFL defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. “If we’re not so anxious, if we’re having fun, we can be great offensively.”
Becca Hazard and Claire Boyd got Zion on the scoreboard in its opening at-bat, with Hazard tripling Halle Adcox home followed by a Boyd base hit.
Coble reached on a double to lead off the third inning and scored on a Mt. Pleasant error, followed by a second run-scoring Hazard three-bagger.
The visitors broke the game open with five runs in the fourth, including a Coble two-run single and an Adcox two-run triple, before Coble crushed a two-out, two-run homer over the left-field fence in the top of the fifth.
“We’ve been hitting the ball all year,” first-year coach Russ Adcox said. “We’ve scored enough runs to win (most of our games). We’ve just made errors. But we’ve cleaned that up a bit. Our catcher, shortstop, rightfielder and second baseman are in new positions. They’ve just gotten more games under their belts.
“And Ashleia has gotten a lot more comfortable in the circle. She’s been pitching lights-out.”
It marked the first time in three clashes this season that Zion Christian has beaten the Lady Tigers. Previously, Mt. Pleasant (6-6) had won by matching 5-4 margins during the first weekend of the season.
That was the source of coach Misti Grooms’ frustration following the loss.
“We’ve faced (Coble) three times. We should know what to expect from her,” Grooms said. “We talked about some pitches we didn’t need to swing at, and we swung at them. We were not mentally tough enough. But she wasn’t throwing anything we didn’t know.
“Maybe today was just their day. It certainly wasn’t ours.”
Baleigh Gray, Abigail Workman and Eden Wood each had base hits for Mt. Pleasant.
Zion Christian resumes play Tuesday at Riverside Christian, then travels Thursday to Division II-A District 3 rival Battle Ground Academy. Mt. Pleasant is idle until April 12 when it travels to Lewis County.
Zion Chr. 12, Mt. Pleasant 0 (5 inn.)
ZC 202 53 — 12 12 0
MP 000 00 – 0 3 3 Ashleia Coble and Becca Hazard. Sophie Rettinger, McKenzie Gray (5) and Baleigh Gray. W: Coble. L: Rettinger. HR: Zion Chr. – Coble (2).
Photos by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports