Lakeland sweeps Oscar Smith on diamonds

Published 4:14 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alyssa Chirico’s single scored Savannah Nuckols with the game-winning run for Lakeland’s softball team on Tuesday as Lakeland and Oscar Smith traded comebacks ending in a 6-5 Lakeland win.

On the baseball diamond at Lakeland on Tuesday evening, the Cavaliers needed only five innings to rout Oscar Smith. Lakeland scored at least three runs in each inning for a 16-6 victory.

On the softball field, after Oscar Smith got on the board with a run in the top of the first against Lakeland pitcher Ashley Carroll, the Lady Cavaliers got going in the bottom of the second.

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Nuckols, as the first part of a 3-for-3 and 3-run day at the plate, started the frame with a liner into right-center field for a double. The next four Lady Cavaliers reached with either singles or walks, which included RBI singles by Chirico and Erika Wood.

Lakeland had the bases loaded with no outs and a great chance for a huge rally early in the game, but all three runners were stranded leaving Lakeland with a 2-1 lead.

Lakeland held a 4-2 lead going to the sixth inning and returned the favor against Oscar Smith to keep the small lead. Three of the first four Tiger hitters reached with singles, giving OS the bases loaded with one out.

Second baseman Megan Johnson came up with two big plays to limit the Tiger rally to only one run.

Johnson fielded a grounder while charging toward the plate and threw to the plate to get the second out.

A hit batter forced in an Oscar Smith run to make it a 4-3 Lakeland lead, then Johnson made a diving play on a grounder in the hole between first and second, tossing to first from her knees just in time for the out.

Oscar Smith held Lakeland in its half of the sixth, then got three straight hits in the top of the seventh to take a 5-4 lead.

Now with the Lady Cavaliers behind for the first time since the first and second innings, Lakeland rallied in the home half of the seventh without the need of an out.

Starting with third-place hitter Shelby Pendleton reaching on an error, Nuckols followed with a sharp single to left field.

A bunt by Carroll, meant mainly as a sacrifice to move Pendleton and Nuckols up a bag, was good enough to turn into a hit, giving Lakeland bases loaded with no outs.

On the first pitch to Chirico, a passed ball allowed Pendleton to sprint home. On the next pitch, Chirico hit a grounder to shortstop and the Tiger throw to the plate was late as Nuckols slid in with the game-winning run.

In the baseball contest on Tuesday at Lakeland, the Cavalier offense, which had put up 19 runs in its first two games of the season, hammered three different Oscar Smith pitchers for a 16-6 win.

A combination of sharp hitting and manufacturing runs gave Lakeland its first rally of the game, in the bottom of the first inning.

After the first two Cavalier hitters, Justin Hike and Mike Espinosa reached base, a groundout by Jeremy Hagwood brought Hike in, then two batters later, a fielder’s choice grounder by James Gatling sacrificed Espinosa home to make it 2-0 Cavs. An RBI single by Brandon Snook brought Gatling in from second for the third run of the inning.

Lakeland put four more runs on the board in its next at-bats. Hike hit his second home run of the season, sending a drive over the left-field fence for a two-run blast, making it 5-2 Lakeland.

Jeremy and Jarrett Hagwood scored with two outs in the inning, with Jeremy reaching on a single and eventually scoring on a wild pitch, then Jarrett was knocked in on Snook’s second RBI single of the day.

After Oscar Smith drew within 7-5 in the top of the third, Lakeland put the score out of reach with six runs in the bottom of the third.

Jeremy Hagwood’s bases-clearing triple into left-center field was the biggest blow, giving Lakeland an 11-5 lead at that point. Kevin Lowther’s two-out, two-run single capped the rally, scoring both Hagwoods.

Jarrett Hagwood’s two-run single led the way in Lakeland’s fourth multiple-run inning out of four.

Sophomore David Waterfield started and pitched four innings for the Cavaliers to get the victory. Waterfield allowed seven Tiger hits. Gatling allowed one run and two hits in the Oscar Smith fifth.

Hike and Jeremy Hagwood led the many offensive stats the Cavaliers piled up. Hike was 2 for 2 with two walks and four runs scored. Hagwood was 2 for 3 with four RBI.

The Lady Cavaliers (1-2, 1-2) and Cavaliers (2-1, 2-1) host Great Bridge on Friday evening with both contests slated for 5:30 p.m.