Lakeland High School sophomore Sami Gizara swings in the latter stages of the Lady Cavaliers’ 3-2 home loss on Thursday against Grassfield High School.
Lakeland High School sophomore Sami Gizara swings in the latter stages of the Lady Cavaliers’ 3-2 home loss on Thursday against Grassfield High School.

Cavs lose close Grassfield game

Published 10:28pm Friday, March 29, 2013

The Lakeland High School softball team experienced a narrow 3-2 defeat to visiting Grassfield High School on Thursday, yet jubilation and laughter could be heard from the Lady Cavaliers’ post-game huddle.

“I think this was a turning point for us,” Sarah Bowyer said. “We’re getting better, and we’re progressing. And I feel like if we continue with this energy that we have, that we’ll progress even further.”

Bowyer did her part to lead the team and keep the game close, recording two RBIs in the bottom of the third inning that quickly tied the game after Grassfield went up 2-0 in the top of the third.

Lakeland head coach Cara Byrd expressed similar optimism about the trajectory of her team, which currently has a record of 1-6.

“I was happy with how they played,” she said. “The past two games, our bats have come back. Katie (Peelen) is doing an excellent job pitching, keeping us in ball games, hitting her spots. So progress is what I’m looking at right now.”

In fact, Byrd said, the team’s ascent started before Thursday.

“I think Hickory was the start of it, and this kind of sealed it,” she said.

In a loss against Hickory, one of the best teams in the district, the final score was 5-1, but Byrd explained that it was much closer than that score implies.

“It was 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, and then they had a girl hit a three-run home run,” she said. “We hung with them the whole time; we were hitting with them.”

The Lady Grizzlies are an elite team, and even playing them to a 3-2 loss was a big deal for the Cavs.

“We knew they were a good team; we knew that they would be a challenge to beat,” Peelen said.

“And we came in with our hearts and minds in the right place to give them a fight,” Bowyer added.

“So, I think, for me, Hickory was the turning point and this is kind of sealing it,” Byrd said of Thursday’s game. “Yes, we are the team that can hang and win these games.”

Grassfield was able to score one more run in the top of the fourth, but then Lakeland’s defense held it the rest of the way as the offense endeavored to score.

Several Lady Cavaliers shined, including Peelen, who delivered solid pitching and three strikeouts.

“I knew I had to hit my spots, not let them be able to hit like they can,” Peelen said.

Centerfielder Bree Pendleton had a particularly strong defensive game with four put-outs.

On offense, Summer Parker scored, along with Stasha Waterfield, who went 2-for-4. Bowyer was 2-for-3 on the day, and expressed more optimism with regard to the team’s offense moving forward.

“Some of our hits were taken away, but if we continue playing as aggressive as we are, our hits will fall into place, and we will be racking up the ‘W’s,” she said.

Lakeland (1-6, 1-6) returns from spring break on April 8 to host Deep Creek High School.


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