NRHS returns to formPublished 12:30am Sunday, March 30, 2014
The Nansemond River High School softball team got out of an offensive slump in a big way on Friday night.
The Lady Warriors produced a 16-hit performance en route to a 10-1 conference victory over visiting Lakeland High School.
NR head coach Gabe Rogers said that before Friday his players were not hitting hard line drives or solid ground balls.
But this time, “I thought we did a much better job of putting good contact on the ball,” he said. “I don’t think that anything was really given to us by Lakeland.”
Rogers pointed to a change in the batting lineup as a factor in the improved showing. He moved sophomore KateLynn Hodgkiss from the back half of the order to the leadoff position.
She took Lakeland’s first pitch of the game and hit it up against the fence. Though she got tagged out while trying for a triple, Rogers highlighted the hit’s significance.
“I thought it kind of set the tone that it should be a good night hitting,” he said.
Nansemond River sophomore Calah Savage went 3-for-4, with two doubles, two runs batted in and two runs scored. Junior Morgan Lowers also went 3-for-4, with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Sophomore Lauren Maddrey had a solid night both offensively and defensively. She went 2-for-3 at the plate, with two RBIs and two runs scored and recorded the win in the circle, giving up four hits, one unearned run and throwing six strikeouts.
Sophomore Jaclyn Mounie was 2-for-3, and Hodgkiss ended up 1-for-2. Sophomore Maddie McGrath followed up her home run on Thursday against Indian River High School with a key hit, RBI and run scored in the Lady Warriors’ four-run fourth inning.
Rogers said rather than focus on batting average, he emphasizes the importance of on-base percentage with his players. While sophomore Lauren Davis was not racking up hits, he noted she nevertheless got on base three times on Friday.
Knowing her players were unsure of themselves, Lakeland head coach Cara Byrd sought to inspire her players to self-confidence by allowing them to pile up a 22-2 win against Oscar Smith High School on Thursday. She knew they would need the lift to tackle a difficult Lady Warriors squad.
After Friday’s game, she said, “I know the score didn’t show, but I think we played well. We didn’t go in there with a lack of confidence.”
Lady Cavs senior Sarah Bowyer went 1-for-2 with a triple, sophomore Jada Futrell went 1-for-3 and senior Bree Pendleton went 1-for-3 with a hit in the seventh inning.
Byrd agreed with Rogers who said Nansemond River’s unusually large field made the game more difficult on a windy, rainy day. It forces coaches to either move their outfielders up, allowing them to get burned by a wind-aided deep hit, or move them back, creating large gaps for shorter hits.
Rogers also thought his team benefited from having faced Indian River’s pitcher the night before, who is similar in style to Lakeland sophomore Katie Peelen.
On Monday, Nansemond River (3-1, 1-0) hosts Oscar Smith High School, and Lakeland (2-2, 0-1) hosts King’s Fork High School (2-0, 0-0).