LHS improves, NRHS re-focuses

Published 9:10pm Wednesday, April 24, 2013

As Lakeland High School and Nansemond River High School faced off in a cross-town softball showdown Tuesday evening, each team had special objectives. The Lady Cavaliers were looking to restore their dignity and avenge a 17-0 home loss to the Lady Warriors earlier in the season. Nansemond River was looking to restore order to a season that was interrupted by what it considered an avoidable loss to Hickory High School on Friday.

By degrees, both teams succeeded as Lakeland proved a much greater challenge this time out, but the host Lady Warriors exhibited the necessary focus to earn a 4-0 win.

Nansemond River High School freshman pitcher Lauren Maddrey throws against visiting Lakeland on Tuesday evening. She pitched a three-hitter with three strikeouts and also went 2-for-3 with an RBI in a 4-0 Lady Warriors’ win.
Nansemond River High School freshman pitcher Lauren Maddrey throws against visiting Lakeland on Tuesday evening. She pitched a three-hitter with three strikeouts and also went 2-for-3 with an RBI in a 4-0 Lady Warriors’ win.

“Well, it’s a vast improvement from the first time we played them,” Lakeland head coach Cara Byrd said. “I’m proud of the way that (my team) just stayed in the game and competed.”

This time, she pointed out that if a couple more things had broken Lakeland’s way, the Cavs would have been right in the game.

Nansemond River head coach Gabe Rogers was satisfied with the win, and Lady Warriors senior Sydney Glover, who went 3-for-4, shared what turned things around.

“We had a team meeting, and we just realized that maybe we’ve lost focus lately, so really focusing on before this game, warming up for this game, I think it definitely helped us stay more intense, especially on defense,” she said. “A lot less errors, a lot less just dumb mistakes. So, just having that talk and re-focusing for this, really, second half of the season has helped us.”

Rogers was particularly proud of his team’s defense, including an impressive put out by senior left fielder Jazmine Card late in the game.

“Lauren (Maddrey) did fantastic in the circle,” he said. “Calah (Savage) did a great job behind the plate.”

Maddrey pitched a three-hitter with three strikeouts, and Savage threw out three base runners from the catcher’s position.

“Calah came in and throwing those three girls out, that kills a rally,” Rogers said. “They’d get a runner on first. All right, now (they) can start creating havoc, and she stopped that.”

KateLynn Hodgkiss also contributed a put out that she raced to catch behind second base that Rogers described as a tremendous play. Maddrey, Savage and Hodgkiss are all freshmen and contributed heavily on offense, as well. Maddrey went 2-for-3 with an RBI, Savage had a double and an RBI and Hodgkiss went 2-for-2 with an RBI.

Rogers conveyed excitement over his team’s athleticism and what he described as its phenomenal freshman.

“I think we’ve got a lot of things that we can do this year, but the future for Nansemond River softball is just going to be remarkable,” he said.

The other major point of praise that Rogers shared was directed toward Lakeland coach, Cara Byrd.

“I tip my hat to Cara,” he said. “I think Cara’s done a fantastic job with those girls over there. It’s so important as a coach to try to get your kids to buy into what you want out of them.”

He noted that the Lady Cavaliers “played very sound defense. They were out there making diving plays. You could tell they were hungry for that game.”

Lady Cavaliers’ junior Summer Parker went 2-for-3 with a stolen base and junior Megan Smith went 1-for-3.

Lakeland (2-12, 2-10) will return home on Friday to face Indian River High School while Nansemond River (11-3, 9-3) hits the road on the same day to play Deep Creek High School.

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