A nailbiter and a blowout
Published 9:25 pm Saturday, April 25, 2009
One game was a nailbiter and the other a blowout, but in both baseball and softball Friday, visiting Hickory High defeated King’s Fork in Southeastern District action. The Hawks prevailed 4-3 in baseball and 14-0 in softball, the latter during a contest in which star Bulldogs pitcher and hitter Lindsey Holloman didn’t play because of illness.
On the baseball diamond, Hickory led 1-0 after an inning and 3-0 after its half of the fifth frame. King’s Fork (3-9, 2-8) answered with two runs and each team crossed the plate once in the sixth to close the scoring. Hickory loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh, but pitcher Joey Aranda, on in relief of starter Mike Murray, induced a fly out from Colin Hancock to end the threat. Hancock, the Hawks’ starting pitcher, had belted a solo home run earlier in the game.
Reliever Jake Shelor struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh for Hickory (11-2, 9-2).
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In softball, Holloman attempted to warm up, but was a late scratch and the Bulldogs (6-5, 6-4) missed her both in the pitching circle and at the plate, where she’s batting better than .600.
“Lindsey was upset about not playing, but we have two weeks coming up full of big games,’’ said King’s Fork coach Richard Froemel, whose squad plays Lakeland, Deep Creek and Nansemond River next week and has a home-and-home series with Grassfield the week after. The Bulldogs needed to beat Nansemond River in a play-in game last season to reach the four-team district tournament and this spring’s race looks equally tight.
Friday’s game was scoreless until Hickory broke it open by parlaying five hits, a walk and four King’s Fork errors into a nine-run third inning. The Hawks (9-4, 9-3) scored five more times in the fifth and pitcher Amber Phillips (9-4) limited the Bulldogs to two hits, both singles by Alaysha Mikell. Afterwards, Froemel was complimentary of pitcher Melanie Williams, who unexpectedly found herself facing the defending state AAA champions.
“I can’t ask for better than Mel did today,’’ Froemel said. “She got up there and challenged them and stuck with it. She showed a lot of senior leadership today with her actions.’’