Lakeland falls to defending champs

Published 10:30 pm Saturday, April 11, 2009

Good things are supposed to come to those who wait, but the Lakeland High softball team received a 9-0 shutout from Hickory on Friday in a contest that began nearly an hour late.

The visiting Cavaliers had to scramble to locate a school bus to take them to southern Chesapeake and were drubbed upon arrival by the defending Southeastern District and AAA state champions in a district game.

The first inning looked promising for Lakeland (2-8, 2-6) when it filled the bases after its first two batters were retired. No. 3 hitter Savannah Nuckols lined a shot back through the circle that Hickory pitcher Emily Ambrous appeared to get a glove on before it struck her head. Ambrous walked off under her own power but was replaced by Amber Phillips, who walked Cavaliers cleanup hitter Shelby Pendleton and then surrendered an Ashley Carroll single. Alyssa Chirico grounded out to end the inning.

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Lakeland had only three more hits the rest of the game, coming from Nuckols, Chirico and Megan Johnson.

Starting pitcher Carroll allowed seven runs, five of them earned, and was replaced after four innings by Erica Wood. The Cavaliers committed three errors and Hickory scored once in the second inning, six times in the third inning and twice in the fifth frame. Phillips (6-4) struck out 14 batters, including six consecutive opponents in the sixth and seventh innings.

Lakeland is scheduled to play at King’s Fork on Tuesday and to host Nansemond River on Friday