Bennetts Creek All-Stars find way to victory

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 22, 2002

Just when it seemed that hope was gone for the Bennetts Creek (BC) Junior softball All-Stars, they found a way to win. After Richmond County had the winning run on third base in the bottom of the seventh inning, BC fought back, got them out, and scored six runs in the top of the ninth to win in the Virginia State Tournament at Western Branch High School on Monday, 10-4.

With her team down 4-3, Clare Clements led off the seventh with a walk for Richmond, and stole second. A bunt single by Mary Skelton moved her to third, and Clements scored on a passed ball. Heather Self grou-nded out, but Shannon Long and Kara Messick eked out infield singles to load the bases.

On the mound, Lauren Watkins tried to keep herself together. &uot;I was really, really nervous,&uot; she said. &uot;I told my teammates that I’d hurt them very bad if they made an error.&uot;


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Thankfully, she didn’t have to cause any pain. Shannon Andy snared a Jessica Haynie fly ball for the second out, and Watkins struck out Jenny Spi-vey to push the game into extra innings.

Both teams went down in order in the eighth, and Watkins drew a walk to open the ninth. Autumn Compton singled, but Jessica Bryant struck out, and Brandi Novak hit into a fielder’s choice, resulting in Watkins being tagged out at third. Maddi Ridenour walked to load the bases, and Mindy Byrd came to the plate.

The speedy Compton didn’t stick around and hope for a hit. Long’s second pitch flew past the catcher, and Compton sco-red without having to slide.

&uot;I was thinking, ‘Run!’&uot; said Compton. &uot;I knew I was going to be safe, because I was too determined.&uot;

With Bennetts Creek now ahead 5-4, Byrd and Ashley Aston walked to force in another run, and leave the bases loaded. After Aston’s walk, Clements relieved Long on the mound.

April Hines had been 0-for-5 for the day. But just when her team needed it the most, Hines’ bat came through. She smashed Clements’ first pitch down the left field line for a triple, scoring Ridenour, Byrd, and Aston.

&uot;I don’t like slow pitches, because I always lunge after the ball,&uot; said Hines. &uot;They had been pitching me slow all day, so I hadn’t been hitting well. But when I got that hit, I was shocked.&uot; As icing on the cake, she stole home for BC’s final run.

Bennetts Creek will face York County at Western Branch at 9:30 a.m. today.

In Mechanicsville, the junior boys defeated Tuckahoe 14-3 to move to the semfinals of their division. Josh Harrell bashed a two-run homer in the second inning, and Mike Joseph pitched the entire game, striking out eight.

The junior boys will face the winner of the Green Run/Bri-dgewater game today at 1 p.m.

Will Hirsch struck out seven and Zach Strong picked up the save as Bennetts Creek (BC) defeated Cave Spring (Roa-noke) 6-4 on Saturday. Hirsch also batted in three runs with a double in the third inning.

With two men on for Cave Spring in the seventh inning, Josh Harrell made a leaping catch in center field and threw to Tyren Rivers at second base for a double play. Tim Eure then made a diving catch of a line drive to end the game.

Mike Nelson pitched a complete inning game with nine strikeouts BC charged to a 10-4 victory over Mathews County. Hirsch and Nelson combined for five hits, and the defense was strong throughout the game, led by Tyren Rivers who made several spectacular plays at short stop.

– Debbie Topping

With the Bennett’s Creek 11-12 softball all-stars behind 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning against Poquoson in the Virginia State Tournament Sat-urday, Kelsei Saunders bashed a 2-2 pitch out of the Bristol park to end the game (Leigh Ann Sexton had reached base with a single).

Brooke Smith pitched seven complete innings with two strikeouts and exceptional support from the defense, including a diving catch by right fielder Lindsay Wyatt in the sixth inning that sent the game into extra innings.

The Bennett’s Creek 9-10 softball started strong in the Virginia State Tournament in Clinch River. In their opening game against Hugenot, the local girls only needed four innings to defeat Hugenot, 14-3.

Tina Park, Holly Bunch, Anna Cain, Kelsey Ritter and Mallory Patterson all scored in the first inning, sending BC well on its way to victory. Patterson pitched the full game, striking out eight and holding the Hugenot girls to three hits.

– Andrew Cain