NRHS girls win in wild finishPublished 10:14pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Tuesday night’s showdown between Suffolk’s two softball titans was every bit as good as it could have been advertised, including playoff implications. Nansemond River High School was locked in a 2-2 tie with the visitors from King’s Fork High School through the fourth, fifth and sixth innings when the Lady Bulldogs finally broke it with a run in the top of the seventh.
The Lady Warriors had not scored since early in the game, but shortly after a Morgan Lowers hit that gave her team three runners on base, confusion and chaos ensued. Before the dust had settled, Lowers herself touched home plate for the incredible 4-3 win.
“We knew coming into this game that it was going to be one dog fight of a game,” Nansemond River head coach Gabe Rogers said. “(King’s Fork) brought it to us. The reality is we didn’t deserve to win that game. We stayed in close enough and kept it (close), but it goes to the old adage, ‘Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.’”
The Lady Bulldogs were stunned following the abrupt conclusion to a fairly slow-paced game. Head coach Richard Froemel described the tenor of the post-game chat with his team in right field.
“We stood there for about three minutes and didn’t say anything,” he said. “It happened so quick, it was just devastating. I had to absorb it.”
It seemed momentum had swung in King’s Fork’s favor when senior Heather Clark’s double in the top of the seventh scored junior Ashley Roten to make the score 3-2.
But in the bottom of the seventh, Nansemond River had senior Jazmine Card on third and freshman Lauren Maddrey on second with one out when Lowers came up to bat.
She hit the ball and raced safely to first. Card headed for home and was caught out, injuring her knee in a collision with the catcher. Meanwhile, Lowers headed on to second, not realizing that Maddrey intended to stay there.
“I was thinking that (King’s Fork) had a clear shot to third,” Maddrey said.
For a moment, the Lady Warriors had two runners at second. Lady Bulldogs sophomore pitcher Sydney Wash held the ball.
“When Sydney first looked at me, I was like, ‘Well, I know there’s one out, so just get in a pickle and maybe that could move Lauren to get her closer into a scoring position,’” Lowers said.
She said that Wash ran at her and then threw to third to get Maddrey out. The ball sailed past the base, leaving Maddrey free to tag it and score.
Amidst the stir, Lowers had advanced to third, and then she, too, headed for home. She just beat the catcher’s glove, and her team flooded out of the dugout to mob her at home plate, having won the game, effectively, on a two-run single.
None of this would have been possible without Nansemond River’s impressive defense in the sixth inning, for which Rogers praised senior pitcher Sydney Glover and his team. King’s Fork loaded the bases with no outs, and came away with no runs, after the Lady Warriors got two put outs and a strikeout. Glover admitted to nerves because of her respect for the Lady Bulldogs’ bats, but she had faith in her defense.
“Just being able to have that faith kind of helped me stay calm and throw the pitches to get them out, which ended up working out for us,” she said.
Glover relieved Maddrey and pitched the final three innings, allowing two hits and one run and throwing three strikeouts. She also went 2-for-4 at bat with two runs scored. Freshman Jaclyn Mounie went 2-for-2 with two RBIs.
Wash allowed seven hits and two earned runs and threw 11 strikeouts. Clark finished with two RBIs.
King’s Fork had won nine out of 10 games since losing to Nansemond River by another one-run heartbreaker on March 27, but is now in a fight for a playoff spot. Today, the Lady Bulldogs (10-6, 8-6) will visit Indian River High School and the Lady Warriors (13-3, 11-3) will visit Grassfield High School.