Saunders blasts two in River win

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 25, 2005

In the first two home at-bats of her varsity softball career on Tuesday, Nansemond River’s Kelsei Saunders did what no other Lady Warrior had done before – she blasted two homers out of the River park. Becoming just the second River softballer to hit a homer (Megan Belch hit number one last year), Saunders helped her team to a 6-4 win over a pesky King’s Fork squad.

&uot;I never get up there and swing for the fence,&uot; Saunders said. &uot;I just do my mechanics and results happen.&uot;

They happened first for the Lady Bulldogs, as Latonia Gatling led off the game by bunting for a single and stole second. Mindy Byrd moved her to third with a double, and Megan Oliver bounced a two-bagger to the centerfield fence to score them both. She attempted to steal third, and the throw went awry, allowing Oliver to up the lead to 3-0.

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Ashley Aston walked for River, and Erika Maynard went in to pinch-run. She made it to third when Heather Horton reached on an error, and Saunders’ first blast landed just over the left-centerfield fence. Cherae Rice singled, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a double by Collette Butler to take the lead.

Saunders gave her team a two-run lead with her second shot of the contest in the third, a near-replica of the first one. Rice singled, and Butler drove her in again to go up, 6-3. Josh Cousins also made quite the debut in baseball, blasting a homer in the first home game of his varsity career as the Warriors defeated the Bulldogs 10-0 in five innings. River jumped out to a 6-0 first-inning lead and took the momentum all the way to victory.

Chris Williams led off for the Warriors with a single. He stole second, and scored when Tyren Rivers reached on an error. Will Hirsch batted in Rivers, and Tim Eure was hit with a pitch.

Doubles from Cousins and David Mattei droved in three runs, and Mattei scored on a passed ball.

Cousins whacked his round-tripper in the third, and Nobel Reeves singled home another run. Justin Topping knocked in Zach Strong in the fourth, and Reeves batted in Chris Rice for the final run (Fork narrowly missed their own mark in history when Phillip Hertley and Steve Wyatt came within a few feet of the school’s first-ever home runs).

River’s girls host Indian River on Thursday, and the boys battle the Braves on Friday.