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River prevails over Lady Bulldog rally

Andrew Giermak

Nansemond River scored in six innings worth of Friday afternoon’s softball game versus King’s Fork.

The Lady Bulldogs scored in only one inning, but it was nearly enough for another Lady Bulldog upset.

KF came into Friday’s contest with confidence high after one-run wins versus Hickory and Western Branch, and KF rallied from a 5-0 deficit Friday but Charae Rice’s RBI double in the sixth inning tied the game for River and then in the bottom of the eighth, Rice scored the game-winning run on a hit by Ashley Aston to give the Lady Warriors a 7-6 victory.

In the NR first, Jocelyn Ward came in from second on a two-out double by Rice; and in the second, Aston reached base to leadoff the inning and then scored on Erica Maynard’s single.

Both frames could have seen more NR runs but for two double plays turned by the KF infield.

Whitney Holland took over the pitching duties for KF starter Emily Nolen to start the third, but NR kept going, adding a pair of runs in the third and another in the fourth.

Defensively for NR, Lindly Theroux allowed one hit through four innings and the Lady Warrior defense turned their own key double play, from Theroux to catcher Stacy Dorn to Ashley Aston at first, to get out of a jam in the fourth.

Theroux walked two KF batters (Tina Parker and Margaret Farris) to start the fifth, but NR looked to be getting out of another jam, getting two outs while leaving runners on first and second.

Mindy Byrd’s single into center brought Farris in from second, Gillian Giarrizzo’s single loaded the bases and Leigh Sexton drew an RBI walk.

Holland hit a bloop down the right field line that was just out of the reach of NR second baseman Lindsay White, two Lady Bulldogs raced around to score.

Toni Gatling came in to run for Holland at first and promptly stole second, Rachel Bailor then gave KF the lead with a two-RBI liner into center.

KF’s rally gave them the lead and seemingly all the momentum, but it also did something for NR.

&uot;This game meant everything to us,&uot; said Rice, &uot;this is our field and we wanted it bad.

We pulled together as a team and stepped it up.&uot;

Aston said, &uot;We’ve had a lot of team adversity.

This was the first time we were really together as a team and the first time everyone came together to win a game.&uot;

Holland kept River off the board in the fifth and the Lady Bulldogs nearly extended their lead, but left a pair of runners on base in the sixth.

It the NR sixth, Maddie Ridenhour led off with a single, but was only as far as second base with two outs and Rice coming to the plate.

Rice hit short fly to right that fell in, Ridenhour came in to score the tying run.

Theroux was back in charge again in the KF seventh, giving NR the chance to win in the home half of the inning.

The Lady Warriors got hits from White and Maynard, but KF got outs by Brittany Evans at third and Giarrizzo caught a liner at second to send the game to the eighth.

Theroux retired Fork in order in the top half and Kelsey Saunders singled to start the NR eighth.

Riasa Boone came in to run for Saunders and took second on a wild pitch.

Rice then reached on a KF error, and Rice then stole second without a throw.

Still with no outs, Dorn sent a fly out to medium centerfield that looked good enough to score Boone from third, Byrd caught the ball heading toward the plate and fired a perfect strike to Parker, who put the tag on Boone for a game-saving double play.

Byrd’s clutch throw only momentarily saved the game for KF though as the next batter, Aston, hit a sharp grounder through the left side of the KF infield, scoring Rice from third for the game-winner.

&uot;The most important thing today was when adversity hit, they fought through it and stayed together as a team,&uot; said NR coach Mike Maynard.

KF (5-6, 5-6) has a three-game home stand coming up, beginning Tuesday against Great Bridge.

In March, GB defended their home field against the Lady Bulldogs, winning 6-1.

NR’s win gives them three wins in a row, River (11-4, 8-3) hosts Indian River Tuesday.

Both games Tuesday are scheduled for 5:30 p.m.