Lady Warriors win and keep playing
Published 10:59 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Nansemond River scored a run in the top of the eighth, and Lady Warrior pitcher Sydney Glover delivered three straight strikeouts in the bottom of the eighth, to give NR a 3-2 win and a district tournament berth in the regular season finale at city rival Lakeland Wednesday evening.
The district playoffs came early for both Suffolk schools as the Lady Warriors (9-11, 8-10) and Lady Cavaliers (7-12, 7-11) entered the day tied for sixth, the last spot into next week’s Southeastern District Tournament.
Lakeland got the go-ahead runner to third with one out in both the sixth and seventh innings, then the tying runner to second after Kendell Combs singled to open the home half of the eighth.
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Every time, against seven Lakeland batters in all, Glover sat down all seven hitters with strikeouts. Glover finished with 12 strikeouts on the evening.
“I knew this game would be a one-run game,” said Nansemond River head coach Tim Tarafas.
Counting Wednesday evening, five of the six times Suffolk softball teams faced off this spring have finished in one-run games.
“Sydney was throwing extremely hard. She’s a kid, a sophomore, but with the game on the line, she had the ball in her hand and that was the performance she gave you,” Tarafas said.
Lakeland’s Megan Mansfield, who pitched sparingly through the season, was equally impressive in allowing four hits and one earned run in pitching a complete game.
The Lady Warriors broke on top in the opening inning. With two outs, Kayla Coburn singled with a bloop into rightfield, and Shelbi Holloman raced around from second to score. Hope Mounie ran in from third on a wild pitch for a 2-0 Nansemond River lead.
Glover and Mansfield traded zeroes until the Lakeland fourth. Kelsey Smither started the frame with a blast to deep leftfield for a stand-up triple. Of Lakeland’s eight hits against Glover, five were triples.
Smither still stood on third with two down before Mary Ellis sent a fly to deep right-centerfield for an RBI triple.
Smither set the table with her next at-bat, in the Lakeland sixth, with another shot over the leftfielder’s head for a triple.
Vici Treat followed with a shot to the fence in right-center for a triple and a 2-2 score. Treat could’ve been the go-ahead run with three outs left to get for the Lady Cavaliers but Glover fired back-to-back strikeouts to get out of trouble.
Meanwhile, Mansfield had allowed one Lady Warrior hit after the NR rally in the first inning. Lakeland had another great chance to win with Ginny Griffin blasting a triple to deep center with one out in the seventh. Two Glover strikeouts kept Nansemond River’s season going for at least one more inning.
Amanda Lafferty singled with a sharp hit into rightfield to start NR’s eighth. Lafferty was on third with two outs when Glover chopped a grounder to third and the throw from Crystal Treat at third to Valerie Treat at first glanced in and out of the first baseman’s glove, allowing Lafferty to score and make it 3-2 NR.
Combs singled and moved to second on a wild pitch, still with no outs in the Lakeland eighth. Glover seemed to turn up her fastball a little more each time she needed it, and she did so in retiring three straight Lady Cavs to end the game.
“(Lakeland’s) record, and for them to be in this position, challenging for a tournament spot, it shows Suffolk’s come a long way to have three teams in or vying for postseason spots,” Tarafas said.
King’s Fork, with a make-up game to go on Thursday, will be the No. 4 or No. 5 seed in the district tourney.
On the baseball diamond at Lakeland (5-15, 4-14), Nansemond River (15-6, 13-5) cruised to an 11-0 win in five innings. The Warriors clinched the No. 3 seed for the district tournament, which also starts Monday. Nansemond River is the host for the baseball and softball tourneys.
Josh Howard, Kyle Moore and Travis Johnson had three hits apiece, combining to go 9-for-10. Moore hit a solo homer in the third, putting NR up 5-0 at that point. Trevor Riggs hit a two-run homer in the fifth. Howard pitched four innings and got the win.
Lakeland’s senior nights were for seniors David Waterfield, Lance Smith, Cole Gross and Nate Meeks on the baseball team and Smither, Combs, Griffin, Ellis and Crystal Treat.