• 41°

Bulldog squads get their 1st wins of the season

King’s Fork softball and baseball squads both got their first victories of the season Tuesday, doing so against city rival Lakeland.

The Lady Bulldogs (1-2, 1-2) got two RBI each from Haley Johnson and Taylor Davis in a 7-5 win.

The Bulldogs (1-2, 1-2) got out to a 6-0 lead and reliever Nick Bowman held the Cavaliers (1-3, 0-3) to one run in the last three innings of a 9-4 KF victory.

In the softball contest, the turning point was the Lady Bulldog fifth when KF took advantage of four Lakeland errors to plate four runs and take a 7-5 lead.

KF head coach Richard Froemel was pleased with the outcome, but not so happy with how his side played.

“We’re very aware as a team of what we need to work on,” Froemel said. “The only thing standing in our way from being where we want to be is ourselves. We’ve got to cut the mental mistakes and errors out.”

The Lady Bulldogs plated a run in the first, with a single by Davis being KF’s third straight hit with two outs and scoring Niki Cuevas.

Lakeland (0-3, 0-3) answered with its own two-out offense. After KF’s Miranda Whitley struck out the first two batters she faced, Chelsea Speight doubled into the right-center field gap. Speight scored when a pick-off play resulted in two KF errors.

In the KF third, Johnson belted a double into right-center field to score Jen Delucia and Cuevas.

Again, KF’s lead didn’t last long. In the Lakeland fourth, the Lady Cavaliers loaded the bases with no outs and Ginny Griffin singled to bring in two runs. Griffin and Alyssa Chirico moved into second and third respectively on KF’s throw to the plate.

The extra bases allowed Lakeland to take the lead on Crystal Treat’s safety squeeze bunt and make it 5-3 on a groundout by Speight.

KF regained the lead in the next half-inning, but it should’ve been a routine inning for the Lakeland defense.

After Speight got a groundout to open the inning, the next two KF hitters reached base on errors.

Davis singled to drive in Cuevas for the first run of the inning and KF tied the game when Johnson came home on a double steal.

Another Lakeland error put Lady Bulldogs on first and second, still with one out, and Monica Logwood’s single loaded the bases for a moment. An errant toss back to Speight in the pitcher’s circle wound up over near the first-base line and allowed Davis to sprint home to put KF ahead. KF made it a 7-5 lead with Brittany Ashby scoring on a wild pitch.

From there, Whitley and the Lady Bulldog defense settled down enough to close out the game. Whitley pitched a complete game, allowing 10 hits, three earned runs and one walk while striking out nine.

“We went up, then fell behind, then came back again. So when it came down to it, we did what we had to do,” Froemel said.

The baseball game didn’t feature as many twists after the Bulldogs slugged their way to a five-run rally in the fourth inning.

The center of the Bulldog batting order opened the inning with Bowman sending a drive that one-hopped the left-center field fence for a double.

Clean-up hitter George Riddick followed with a smash toward left field. Lakeland third baseman Trey Wright dove and deflected the ball with his glove, but the ball still rolled into shallow left giving Bowman time to score.

Lakeland and starting pitcher David Waterfield retired the next two KF hitters. The next four KF hitters kept the inning going and turned it into a big inning.

The big blow was another double, from ninth-place hitter Tanner Holmes. Holmes sent a blast that short-hopped the right-center field fence, scoring two runs. An RBI single by Noah Johnson made it 6-0 KF.

Travis Cherry started on the mound for KF, going 3.1 innings until being relieved in the midst of a Lakeland rally in the bottom of the fourth.

Bowman came on to get the last two outs of the fourth. Bowman kept Lakeland quiet over the final three innings, recording six strikeouts along the way.

“He’s become a strong pitcher. His fastball has a lot of movement to it and he has a real nice curveball that he controls well,” said King’s Fork head coach J.B. Varney.

Johnson and Tyler Carpenter both went 3-for-4 at the plate for the Bulldogs. Johnson, Cherry and Holmes had two RBI each.

“It’s a lot of little things. The kids have been working hard, focusing and just working on staying positive,” Varney said.