One is enough for Lakeland

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vici Treat pitched a complete-game shutout for Lakeland Tuesday, leading the host Lady Cavs to a 1-0 win over city rival Nansemond River.

Heading into the second half of the season and the Southeastern District schedule, Lakeland head coach Steve Wood is hoping Tuesday’s effort and outcome sparks his team.

“This is big. I mean, I can’t tell you the last time we beat Nansemond River. I don’t know the history that far back. So, this is a very big win for us,” Wood said.

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Along with Treat’s pitching, a move to put Kelsey Smither at shortstop paid big dividends for the Lady Cavaliers.

Smither has been on the softball roster all spring for Wood, but duty with the U.S. U-17 National Field Hockey Team , most notably a tournament in Uruguay in March, kept Smither away for stretches of the schedule.

Offensively, Smither was 2-for-3 in the leadoff spot and scored the decisive run. At shortstop, Smither ranged far to both sides to make plays and was busy all day, finishing with six assists and three putouts.

Sydney Glover and Rachel Hawks combined for the Lady Warriors to keep Lakeland to a lone run and both sides had good chances to break the game open.

In each of the first three innings, the Lady Warriors got runners into scoring position.

In the NR second, with one down and Loren Daubenspeck on second, Smither moved deep into the hole to her right to glove a grounder and toss to third for Crystal Treat to get the tag on Daubenspeck.

In the NR third, Anna Cain and Hope Mounie singled with two outs, but Smither and second baseman Jackie Wood combined for an out at second to end the inning.

Meanwhile, Lakeland had the bases loaded with one out in the second, only for NR to turn a rare third-to-home-to-third double play thanks to Mounie at third and Cain at the plate.

Lakeland got its run in the bottom of the third. Smither singled, beating out a grounder to short, to open the frame.

With two down and Smither on second, Vici Treat hit a hard smash into center field for an RBI double. Treat was thrown out in a rundown between second and third, but Lakeland had the lead and Treat kept it that way.

NR’s best chance the rest of the way was in the seventh. Daubenspeck reached on an error to lead off the inning, but back-to-back strikeouts kept her on first.

Glover worked a walk to keep the game alive. Alex Keiser nearly turned the game around with a fly to short left field, but Alyssa Chirico read the ball well and raced in to make the catch on the run. If Keiser’s hit had dropped, NR could’ve tied the game and had its top hitter, Cain, who already had two hits on the day, coming up.

Treat allowed four hits and three walks and finished with three strikeouts. Olivia Graham was 2-for-2 with a walk. Chirico and Kendell Combs were 2-for-3 each for the Lady Cavs (2-8, 2-7).

“We’ve been struggling all year, trying to find the right combination. Our hitting’s been good, but we’ve just been giving up too many runs,” Wood said. “Today, we actually stranded too many on offense.”

For NR (3-6, 3-6), Glover allowed nine hits, but only one run, in 3.1 innings. Hawks allowed no hits and two walks in 2.2 innings.

On Lakeland’s baseball diamond, the visiting Warriors were led offensively and defensively by Josh Howard in an 8-0 victory.

Howard started on the mound, pitching five shutout innings. It took NR until the fourth inning to get going with the bats, but when the Warriors did, Howard did the most damage with two two-RBI doubles spurring Warriors rallies in the fourth and sixth innings.

In the NR fourth, clean-up hitter Kyle Moore opened the scoring suddenly with a solo home run, a line drive that carried and carried to clear the left field fence. It was Moore’s third homer of the season.

With the bases loaded later in the fourth, Howard drove a shot to the left field fence to make it 3-0. Tyler Brown’s successful squeeze bunt, with Ryan O’Hara coming in from third, made it 4-0 NR.

Howard’s second double of the game made it 6-0 in the sixth. NR got an RBI double by pinch-hitter Will Hunter and an RBI grounder by O’Hara in the seventh to complete the scoring.

“Josh did a good job of going at guys and letting his defense do the job behind him today,” said NR head coach Mark Stuffel.

Lakeland (2-9, 1-8) hosts Deep Creek Friday. The Warriors (6-6, 5-5) play at King’s Fork Friday.