Norfolk Academy hands NSA first loss

Published 8:52 pm Thursday, April 2, 2009

With three unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning, Norfolk Academy defeated Nansemond-Suffolk 5-4 in a non-Tidewater Conference softball contest on Wednesday at NSA.

Traditionally, the Lady Saints have dominated Norfolk Academy on the softball diamond over the years.

NA pitcher Samiah Anderson held NSA to five hits on the day. Even that output looked as though it would be enough though heading to the last frame as NSA held a 4-2 lead behind its own excellent pitching from Kelsey Ritter.

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Norfolk Academy got a pair of runners aboard with singles and had the runners on the corners with two outs.

NSA let the runner on first steal second uncontested, then Ritter got a grounder to third. Freshman Ashlie Holmes fielded the ball but threw too high to first. The overthrow allowed two NA runs to tie the game.

A double into shallow right field, a dying flair which was just out of the reach of NSA’s Mary Kate Fowler, brought the go-ahead run in for Norfolk Academy.

Anderson retired the Lady Saints in order in the bottom of the seventh. Anderson recorded only three strikeouts for the game, but she came up with repeated good defensive plays, five assists in total, to take away potential groundball hits through the middle of the infield. Anderson added key offense too, scoring two runs including the game-winning run.

NSA jumped in front with a pair of runs in the second. Ritter and Victoria Pittman drew walks around a single by Holmes to set up the threat. Ritter scored on a wild pitch and Pittman came in on a sacrifice fly by Allie Thorndike.

NA got single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to tie the game. NSA then seemed to have survived a close contest when the Lady Saints rallied in the bottom of the sixth.

Morgan Daughtry singled with a grounder into centerfield, one which finally got past Anderson’s reflexes. Daughtry stole second, then Ritter sent a fly to left-center field. Daughtry initially tagged up until the ball fell in, then she hustled around to try to score.

The relay from Norfolk Academy beat Daughtry to the plate, but the catcher didn’t hold onto the ball as Daughtry slid. Daughtry’s slide came up short of the plate, and when the catcher was blocking the plate without the ball, the umpire called interference and awarded NSA the run. Ritter moved around to third on the play at the plate. Ritter scored a couple pitches later on a wild pitch.

All five NA runs on the day were unearned against Ritter, who totaled 12 strikeouts. NSA finished with four errors.

NSA (3-1, 1-0) will get a second chance against Norfolk Academy, in Norfolk on Tuesday. NSA faced Hampton Roads Academy on Thursday and hosts Southampton Academy on Friday afternoon.