Saints roll in TCIS softball opener

Published 9:43 am Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s 17-0 rout of visiting Walsingham on Monday wasn’t much of a contest. But given that the Saints have already had four games postponed by rain, they were happy to be playing at all. Kelsey Ritter struck out 10 Trojans and allowed only three runners while throwing a one-hitter.

NSA led 5-0 after an inning and 15-0 after two frames of a game halted after the visitors’ half of the fourth inning because of the mercy rule. The Saints improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the Tidewater Conference, while Walsingham dropped to 2-3 and 0-1. The hosts pounded out 10 hits and were aided by six Trojan errors, three of them on dropped fly balls.

Kim Aston, who’s beginning her second tour as NSA’s coach following a 5-year stint from 1997-2001, said her club features strong pitching and a standout infield comprised completely of freshmen. The question is whether the Saints can generate enough offense to push traditional conference power Greenbrier Christian.

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“If we can put up some runs, we have a good chance against anyone,” Aston said. “It’s exciting to have this many young ones who can learn and grow together during their high school careers.”

NSA’s JV team won the conference title last season and five players from that squad have graduated to Aston’s roster. Leadoff hitter and second baseman Brooke Starling is batting better than .500 and scored three times Monday. Her infield mates are third baseman Ashlie Holmes, shortstop Morgan Daughtry and first baseman Amber Daniels. Daughtry is touted as having less velocity but better control than Ritter as a pitcher and the two swap positions back and forth.

“The first time I coached softball here we have a group of five eighth-graders my first season who all went on to become all-conference players,” said Aston, who has previously coached at Western Branch and is NSA’s Dean of Students. “These guys this season remind me of them.”