Rivals face off again in first round

Published 9:45 pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

King’s Fork High School’s Taylor Davis runs for first base during a recent game against Lakeland High School. The Lady Bulldogs face the Lady Cavaliers in the first round of the Southeastern District Tournament Friday.

By Tray Mason
Correspondent

One of the most intriguing rivalries of this softball season will be renewed Friday in the first round of the Southeastern District Tournament.

King’s Fork (14-6) and Lakeland will face off for the third time this year, with the winner advancing to the second round.

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The Lady Bulldogs swept the season series versus Lakeland, including a 1-0 extra-innings thriller in the last game of the season for both teams.

Although King’s Fork finished ahead of the Lady Cavs in the district standings, Lakeland had the hotter start this season before a rough patch set them back.

The team was at an early-season pinnacle after a 9-1 win over Hickory, widely regarded as one of the best softball teams in the state.

The Lady Cavs found themselves sitting atop the SED with a 5-1 record.

After their quick start to the season, though, they began to struggle. They took a tough 1-0 loss to Grassfield, then dropped the first meeting with the rival Lady Bulldogs, 4-3.

KF didn’t begin the season in the same fashion as the Lady Cavs, but the Lady Bulldogs peaked at the right moment.

They also beat Hickory, who won the SED title, 1-0 and gave the Hawks their only other loss this season.

The key matchup between the two teams will be the starting pitchers.

Both start freshman pitchers, Sydney Wash (14-6) of King’s Fork and Brooke Mizelle (9-9) of Lakeland.

Wash, a frontrunner for Freshman of the Year honors in the district, is 2-0 in head-to-head matchups, although both could have gone either way.

In the 1-0 win by King’s Fork to end the season, it was a pitchers’ duel to remember.

Wash went all 11 innings, with 13 strikeouts, eight hits and a walk.

Mizelle pitched the complete 11 innings, with 12 strikeouts, five hits and no walks.

“It’s a great time to be a spectator in Suffolk watching softball,” said KF head coach Richard Froemel. “We’ve got two of the better pitchers in the area, and we get to watch them for three more years.”

The game will be Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Nansemond River. The winner will play top-seeded Hickory in the semifinals.