REPUBLIC — Jalyn Mabe will have quite the surprising story to tell her travel ball teammates she hasn’t seen this fall about how her school ball season went.
Mabe upped her sophomore season home run total to five and then six in Nixa’s 13-3, five-inning Class 5 District 5 first-round rout of Glendale on Thursday.
Mabe had one career homer prior to this season and has never gone yard during travel ball.
“I would have been surprised. I wouldn't have believed it,” Mabe said when asked if she had been told in the pre-season she would have six homers. “With confidence and knowing I can hit, having the right technique and what feels right in the box, it’s been nice this year.”
But she still doesn’t think home runs are a true indicator of when she’s seeing and hitting the ball particularly well.
“For me, it’s definitely line drives,” Mabe said.
“She's strong. She's not a big girl, but compact,” Nixa coach Matt Walker said. “She can drive the ball. We try to get her to focus on line drives and hard-hit ground balls.”
Mabe ripped a line drive well over the left-center field fence for a solo homer in the second inning to get Nixa’s scoring started.
With the wind making it a hitter-friendly day and night at Republic, Mabe later lofted a towering fly ball to right-center that the wind carried out for a two-run homer.
“That was nice, it helped,” Mabe said of the wind.
Lady Eagles shortstop Jordan Phillips lofted a wind-aided three-run home to left.
Nixa also received RBI singles from Natalia Pharris, Paige Garetson and Rylee Harper as part of an eight-run fourth.
All this after Glendale held a 3-1 lead after three innings. The Lady Falcons gained the upper hand with a three-run third, despite being guilty of five errors over the first three innings.
Nixa had just two hits over the first three frames.
“The nerves got to us,” Mabe said of playing in the post-season. “We finally got comfortable, got hyped and started hitting. We stayed up, believed in ourselves and had confidence.”
“Bri (Chilton) hadn’t pitched in Districts before, so before the game she was a little nervous,” Walker said. “Several other girls hadn't played in Districts before. We had a slow start. We got those nerves out of the way and luckily we answered.”
Third baseman Rachel Clemensen banged out a pair of hits. She had a game-ending, two-run single to allow Nixa to win via the 10-run rule.
Clemensen was inserted to Nixa’s lineup at third late last month, while Mabe was moved from third to second.
“She got an opportunity and ran with it,” Walker said of Clemensen. “She’s doing very well. She's giving us a spark at the end of the season.”
No. 2 seed Nixa (21-10) advances to play No. 3 Republic (19-13) in a semifinal at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Lady Eagles have won five straight against the Lady Tigers over the past three years and won 6-4 in the teams’ regular-season matchup this season