King's Fork High School junior ace pitcher Sydney Wash throws on Tuesday during a 7-2 win over visiting Grassfield High School.
King's Fork High School junior ace pitcher Sydney Wash throws on Tuesday during a 7-2 win over visiting Grassfield High School.

King’s Fork tames Lady Grizzlies

Published 9:37pm Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The King’s Fork High School softball team was expected to be one of the best in the area this season, but it has struggled early on. However, the Lady Bulldogs have begun a reversal of that trend starting during a spring break tournament and continuing on Tuesday with a 7-2 home win over Grassfield High School.

While King’s Fork has been less imposing defensively without injured junior pitcher Sydney Wash, who was back on Tuesday, its lack of offense has been the main concern for head coach Richard Froemel.

Grassfield took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, scoring off a Lady Bulldogs error. King’s Fork was unable to convert any runs in the bottom of the first.

“We left two runners on base, and I stressed to them, ‘We’ve got to take advantage of these opportunities,’” Froemel said.

His players did not wait long to respond. They were presented with opportunities in the bottom of the second as Grassfield struggled defensively. The Lady Bulldogs capitalized but also helped themselves with production on offense, including some effective small ball.

“We execute bunts well, and I think that’s what really got us going,” Froemel said, in addition to good base running.

By the time Grassfield escaped the inning, it was in a 6-1 hole.

For the game, junior Shaina Holland led the way offensively for King’s Fork by accounting for half its hit total. She went 3-for-3, with two runs scored.

The Lady Bulldogs were coming off a slow start in 2013 entering the Jazmine Foreman Memorial Tournament.

“Last year, that spring break tournament kind of turned our season around,” Froemel said. The team went in this year with the plan to experience déjà vu.

On April 17, King’s Fork first faced one of the top-ranked teams in the area, Ocean Lakes High School, falling 2-0. Wash, who has been dealing with a back injury, pitched three innings.

Froemel once again was frustrated by the lack of hitting from his team but was otherwise encouraged by the close game. Each team only had one hit, and the Lady Dolphins only had one earned run.

“I told the girls that’s a very good team we played,” he said. “It was good for us to play them.”

Later that day, KF faced Frank W. Cox High School and won 7-0. Froemel said though the Lady Falcons were less of a challenge, it was helpful to have the offensive success.

“I think that gave us some confidence,” he said.

Senior Ashley Roten continued an impressive string of performances by going 4-for-4, with a run batted in and two runs scored. Senior Kayla Harbin went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Wash pitched for the win.

After Tuesday’s Grassfield game, Froemel said, “Having Sydney back makes the difference.”

Wash pitched a complete game against the Lady Grizzlies, allowing only three hits and throwing seven strikeouts.

“I know she’s playing through probably some discomfort,” Froemel said. “I think she got a little more loose as the game went on.”

The coach also praised the play of freshman Danielle Arzillo, who was pulled up from the junior varsity team when Wash was sidelined. Arzillo currently starts at second base.

“She played well yesterday,” Froemel said on Wednesday. “Laid down a good bunt … She’s a very smart player.”

King’s Fork (5-5, 0-2) hosts Grafton High School on Thursday and plays a make-up game on Monday at Great Bridge High School before beginning its steady conference schedule on Tuesday at Phoebus High School.

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