Extras not enough for Lady Saints

Published 11:05 pm Friday, May 13, 2011

Nansemond-Suffolk centerfielder Devin Coyne throws to the plate in the first inning of Friday’s Tidewater Conference Tournament final at Greenbrier Christian. GCA won 3-2 in nine innings to pair the tourney title with its TCIS regular season title. The Lady Saints (18-4) move on to the Virginia Independent School, Div. I state quarterfinals and will host Paul VI Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

CHESAPEAKE — Friday evening’s Tidewater Conference Tournament final between Nansemond-Suffolk and Greenbrier Christian was much different than Greenbrier’s 7-0 win over the Lady Saints eight days earlier.

Both sides had chances to win in the late innings and into extra innings, and Greenbrier Christian was the last to capitalize on its chance, getting a line-drive single into left to plate the winning run with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 3-2 title-winning victory.

The two-time defending state champs in VIS (Virginia Independent Schools) Div. II, the Lady Gators sweep the Tidewater Conference for the 2011 season, going undefeated through the season and tourney.

Email newsletter signup

NSA (18-4), ranked No. 3 in VIS Div. I and set to host a state tournament quarterfinal game Tuesday, held a 2-1 lead with four outs left to get.

After managing only two hits on Lady Gator pitcher Alora Lincoln through four innings, NSA used a couple Lady Gator miscues to tie the game at one.

With one down in the top of the fifth, Nicole Turner reached on an error on a grounder to second and took second thanks to a wild pitch.

With two down and Turner on third, Lincoln fired three straight balls to NSA leadoff hitter Macy Mears.

Instead of the take sign for the freshman, Mears drove a liner into center for an RBI hit.

“Macy has a really good eye,” said NSA head coach Kim Aston. “She gets into full counts a lot and tonight, she got 3-0 counts twice, then the pitcher has to give her something and both times she got hits.”

NSA could’ve been down more than a run heading into the late innings. The Lady Gators scored one in the first, scoring on a sacrifice fly that doubled as an inning-ending double play as Mears, NSA’s catcher, threw to Turner at third in time to get a trailing runner.

NSA erased a one-out Lady Gator double in the second with leftfielder Ugi Metzger, shortstop Kelsey Ritter and second baseman Brooke Starling relaying to catch the GCA runner as she rounded second a stride too far.

The Lady Gators put runners in scoring position with one out in the fourth and fifth frames, only for NSA to hold each time.

Lady Saint pitcher Morgan Daughtry went all nine innings, allowing seven hits.

NSA loaded the bases with one out in the sixth and Starling hit a sacrifice fly to deep left to give the Lady Saints a 2-1 lead.

Like the Lady Saints jumped on a couple minor misplays by Greenbrier, the Lady Gators did the same to score the tying run in the sixth.

A dropped fly down the leftfield line, with Metzger making a long run then having the ball bounce in and out of her glove, gave the Lady Gators runners on second and third with one out.

NSA got the key second out with Ritter fielding a smashed grounder on a short hop and going home where Mears scooped the throw out of the dirt and got the tag on in time.

A wild pitch allowed the Lady Gator runner in from third to make it 2-2. Daughtry got a strikeout to keep GCA from taking the lead.

Mears singled and reached second, but no farther, in the NSA seventh. Morgan Lokie walked with two out in the eighth and reached third, but that was it.

Daughtry got the first two outs in the Lady Gator ninth before a walk and a single set up the game-winning single.

Daughtry, Ritter and Devin Coyne divided up pitching for the Lady Saints throughout the season, with Daughtry becoming the top pitcher for Aston for the last few games.

“Our defense is a little stronger with Kelsey at shortstop, and Morgan’s been pitching a little better for us this year,” Aston said.

The Lady Saints continue on to a rematch of last year’s state quarterfinal pairing in which NSA hosted Paul VI and won 1-0.