Lady Bulldogs finish with 3-1 win

Published 9:09 pm Saturday, May 16, 2009

Although it played its season finale under darkening skies that later produced downpours, the King’s Fork High softball team appears to have a bright future. The Bulldogs, despite being out of contention for the Southeastern District’s postseason tournament, tagged Grassfield with a 3-1 loss that dropped the Grizzlies into that event’s fourth-seeded position.

Grassfield had beaten visiting King’s Fork handily earlier in the week, but the Grizzlies needed to sweep the teams’ series to lock up the four-team tournament’s third-seeded position and avoid a semifinal date with top-seeded Great Bridge. Saturday’s game was tied 1-1 after four innings, but King’s Fork combined three base hits with two Grizzlies’ miscues to break things open in the fifth.

Miranda Whitley, the Bulldogs’ No. 9 hitter, began the rally with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Leadoff hitter Megan Blythe struck out for the inning’s second out, but Nicki Cuevas brought Whitley home with a bloop double that bounced past Grassfield’s charging center fielder.

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Next up was Lindsey Holloman, who hit a flare into shallow right field. Cuevas waited to see if the ball would be caught, then slid into third as the throw bounced past Grassfield third baseman Lacey McDougall. The ball skipped into the Bulldogs’ dugout and Cuevas was awarded home.

Whitley pitched the entire game for King’s Fork, allowing six hits while striking out five Grizzlies and walking one. Holloman has been the Bulldogs’ ace for the past three years and will play at UNC-Charlotte next season. Nonetheless, coach Richard Froemel said he thinks his 2010 team will be at least as good as this year’s edition.

“We played today with pretty close to the team we’ll have next year,” said Froemel, who loses three seniors, two of whom dressed Saturday. “Getting to 10 wins was our goal going into today and it feels good to end on a high note.”

King’s Fork finished 10-9 overall and 10-8 in district play and Cuevas, Holloman and Whitley each had two hits.

The district tournament semifinals are scheduled for Tuesday at Nansemond River, with second-seeded Western Branch and third-seeded Hickory playing opposite the Grassfield-Great Bridge matchup. The Grizzlies concluded the regular season at 14-6 overall and 12-6 against district foes.