Lady Dogs win final home game

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 19, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Solid pitching and spectacular defensive plays ruled the day for the King’s Fork softball team as the Lady Bulldogs celebrated their home finale with a 3-1 triumph over Indian River (IR) Tuesday.

After the Lady Bulldogs stranded Mindy Byrd on third in the bottom of the first, IR got back-to-back singles off Whitney Holland with one out in the second.

Email newsletter signup

Holland regrouped and struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam. In the third, the Lady Braves scored before Holland got her sixth strikeout and then a nice play on a hard grounder to shortstop Gillian Giarrizzo got the final out, holding the threat to the single run.

King’s Fork responded the next half-inning with a rally made up of two bunts and a strikeout.

With one out, Tonia Gatling laid a bunt down, forcing the pitcher into a wild throw down the line into right field. The speedy Gatling raced around and slid into third, single-handedly creating a Lady Bulldog rally.

Byrd followed with a bunt of her own.

This one, fielded by the Indian River third baseman, was also thrown away into right field. Gatling scored and Byrd went all the way around to third.

Megan Oliver attempted to lay down bunts on the first two pitches she saw, and then swung and missed at strike three as the catcher let the pitch past. Oliver raced for first, forcing a throw that retired her, but allowed Byrd to come in from third for the Lady Bulldog lead.

From there, Holland’s pitching and good defense behind her sealed the win.

With two out and a runner on second in the Lady Brave fourth, Holland snared a bullet line drive that looked to be a run-scoring hit into centerfield.

Three impressive fielding plays made up the Lady Brave fifth.

Third baseman Leigh Anne Sexton began the inning with a quick snag on a one-hopper to her left and peg to first for one out. The next batter forced Giarrizzo into a tough chance in the hole at deep short, and her throw missed the mark and went to the fence behind first.

Gatling, backing up from right field, was in the right spot to gather the ball off the fence and fire to second in time for the out.

Giarrizzo finished the inning with a scoop on another hard shot and got the runner at first by a half-step.

The final out of the top of the sixth was the gem of the game as on a hard liner to right, as a charging Gatling smoothly played the ball on one hop and threw to first, easily beating the runner.

Giarrizzo gained her side an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. With Rachel Bailor earning a two-out walk, Giarrizzo followed her with a powerful drive to the fence in left-centerfield. The double brought Bailor in, and made the score 3-1 King’s Fork with three outs to go.

Those three outs were put away 1-2-3, as Holland and her defense set down 12 of 13 Lady Braves after gaining the lead in the third inning.

Holland finished with eight strikeouts and no walks.

The home finale could not be given the usual tag of &uot;Senior Day&uot; since the Lady Bulldogs (6-9) have no seniors; which certainly bodes well for following seasons.

In baseball, Indian River won 10-0. Both teams played their final regular-season games late Wednesday at Lakeland.