Lakeland claws past Tigers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 24, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Lakeland swept host Oscar Smith on the diamonds Thursday, as both the Cavalier baseball and softball teams pulled out respective victories. The baseball team (4-8, 2-6) held off a pesky Tiger squad for a 10-8 victory, while the softball team (5-7, 4-3) rode Candace Judkins’ career-high 17 strikeouts to a 4-0 shutout.

In baseball action, Ricky Lainhart was hit in the side by a pitch to open the second inning. He stole second, and scored on a double by Kyle Conner.

Email newsletter signup

The Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning, but the Cavalier offense took charge in the third. Robert Hedrick reached on a fielder’s choice, and J.R. Roberts and Corey Ricks drew walks to load the bases. Brian Ashburn struck out, but Lainnhart took another pitch (this one in the ankle) to force home Hedrick. Lee Abernathy singled in Roberts and Ricks, and Conner banged a single to right field to score Lainhart for a 5-2 advantage.

After Oscar Smith got to within one in their half of the inning, neither team scored in the fourth. But Lainhart and Abernathy walked to open the fifth, and a blown pickoff moved them into scoring position.

Conner struck out, but Steve Morean bunted for a single to score Lainhart, and Nelson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hedrick drew a walk to force in a run, and Roberts hit into a fielder’s choice. Hedrick was forced out at second, but Morean made it home, and Nelson came in on an error to increase the lead to 9-4.

A pair of Cavalier errors, two doubles and a triple allowed the Tigers to score four runs over the next two innings, but Conner led off the seventh with a double to right field, and made it to third on a passed ball. Nelson hit the first pitch up the middle for a single, and Lakeland held the Tigers scoreless to finish the win.

&uot;We just have to build off this win and keep playing like we did today,&uot; said Nelson. &uot;We can surprise some people this season.&uot;

Hedrick struck out seven in his first victory since 2001 (breaking a streak of eight consecutive losses). &uot;I got frustrated when they kept coming back,&uot; Hedrick said, &uot;but I was hoping that my defense would back me up, and they did.&uot;

Over on the softball field, Judkins struck out the first nine batters she faced and allowed only two hits in the Lady Cavaliers’ victory.

&uot;I didn’t expect that,&uot; Judkins said of her performance, &uot;because it’s hard to tell how I’m going to pitch. I hope I can do that well or better after this.&uot;

Kristin Worrell bunted for a single with one out in the first, and Ashley Schleeper knocked a single into left field. A double by Katie Daughtrey brought Worrell around, and Schleeper scored on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead. Judkins crossed the plate in the fourth and Erica Rimasse in the seventh to complete the scoring.

The teams now visit their local rivals, as the Cavaliers head to Nansemond River on Saturday afternoon and the Lady Cavaliers go on Monday.