Lady Saints can’t stop Greenbrier

Published 1:45 pm Friday, May 1, 2009

Greenbrier Christian completed another regular-season Tidewater Conference softball title and did so with an undefeated record, as the Gators shut out Nansemond-Suffolk 7-0 on Thursday at Greenbrier Christian.

The Lady Saints (11-4, 6-2) had one brief chance to make a game of it against the Gators and reigning all-state pitcher Brittany Lane, but a two-on, no-out situation in the top of the second went begging for NSA. Lane fired a four-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts and no walks.

NSA and starting pitcher Kelsey Ritter worked out of a jam in the GC first as the Gators put two runners on base with two outs before Ritter forced a pop-out to Brooke Starling at second.


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In the next half-inning, Ritter singled, and Mackenzie Matthews reached on a Gator throwing error, which allowed Ritter to go around to third. Matthews stole second on the first pitch of the next at-bat to give NSA two runners in scoring position.

From there, though, Allie Thorndike and Victoria Pittman both popped up bunt attempts to the catcher for quick outs. One of Lane’s strikeouts retired the side.

“We’ve got to take advantage of runners in scoring position,” said NSA head coach Kim Aston.

“We had a chance to jump on them and score first. That could’ve changed the complexion of the game,” said Aston.

Instead, Lane settled in and retired the next 10 Saints she faced from the third into the sixth inning.

Meanwhile, one big offensive rally was all the Gators needed. Greenbrier Christian sent 12 hitters to the plate in a six-run fourth inning to take control.

A one-out single by Amber Coffin put the Gators on the board, scoring Sommer Difulgo, who led off the rally with a double. Lane added a two-RBI single; then in the fifth, Lane belted a home run over the centerfield fence to make it a 7-0 score.

NSA finishes second in the Tidewater Conference and will host a first-round tournament game in the conference tournament on Tuesday afternoon. The Lady Saints are ranked No. 4 in the state in VIS Division II. Should that ranking hold, NSA would host a state playoff game, as eight teams make the tourney and the top four seeds host quarterfinal games.