Lady Warriors beat defending state softball champs

Published 10:04 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tim Tarafas, Nansemond River’s softball coach, got a swell 43rd birthday present Wednesday when his visiting Warriors knocked off the defending state champions. The 3-2 defeat of Southeastern District rival Hickory improved Nansemond River to 4-1 overall and in district play and solidified its hold on third place, trailing Western Branch and Great Bridge.

“I took a picture of the scoreboard,” Tarafas said. “The only way it would have been better is if we’d won 4-3.”

The visitors took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, which began with Stephanie Tarafas drawing a walk on nine pitches. Kayla Coburn singled to move Tarafas to second and Anna Cain’s groundout pushed the runners to second and third. Rachel Henderson then smacked a line drive past the Hawks’ third baseman to score her teammates.

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Nansemond River went up 3-0 in the third inning. No. 7 hitter Jenna Bryant stroked a double down the right field line and was replaced on the base paths by Ashley Davenport, who moved to third on a passed ball. Davenport scored on Taylor Benson’s groundout to second base.

Hickory (2-2) pulled within 3-1 in its half of the third. The Hawks used a walk, a sacrifice bunt, a hat batter and a single to get on the scoreboard. The hosts produced another run in the seventh when their leadoff hitter had a one-out single, stole second and scored on a two-out line drive to left-center field.

Bryant (4-1), the Warriors’ pitcher, induced a groundout to first base to end the game and finished with seven strikeouts and three walks while throwing 121 pitches. She threw 129 earlier this season in Nansemond River’s 11-inning loss at Western Branch.

Nansemond River hosts Deep Creek on Friday, Grassfield next Tuesday and Oscar Smith next Friday.