NSA girls advance in VISAA

Published 10:06 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Nansemond-Suffolk Academy softball team has struggled on offense in its last two games, resulting in a loss on Friday in the TCIS tournament championship, but on Tuesday, the team produced enough for a 1-0 win against St. Margaret’s School in the first round of the VISAA state tournament.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior Macy Mears starts for home as Lady Saints head coach Kim Aston looks on during Tuesday's home game against St. Margaret's School in the first round of the VISAA Division II state tournament. NSA was not able to score Mears, but it still won 1-0.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior Macy Mears starts for home as Lady Saints head coach Kim Aston looks on during Tuesday’s home game against St. Margaret’s School in the first round of the VISAA Division II state tournament. NSA was not able to score Mears, but it still won 1-0.

“We knew they had a good pitcher,” NSA head coach Kim Aston said of St. Margaret’s. “Our game plan was to come in and put the bat on the ball, and we didn’t do a spectacular job of that, but we did a good enough job to win.”

The Lady Saints managed three hits on Tuesday, with freshman Brooklyn Carr’s double to right field scoring senior Devin Coyne in the fourth inning for the game’s only run. Junior Macy Mears and sophomore Caylin Harris had the other hits.

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Carr compared her team’s one-hit performance against Greenbrier Christian Academy in the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools tournament title game with Tuesday’s effort against the Scotties.

“I think we improved a lot, but there’s still a lot of work to be done between the outside pitches, and that’s what we’ve been working a lot on, because Greenbrier has the outside pitches a lot,” she said.

Coyne continued to be the heartbeat of the team’s defense, throwing 13 strikeouts against St. Margaret’s, allowing only two hits.

“She played a good game,” Aston said. “I think she walked three or four, but she walked the big girl; we really wanted to walk her, because she was the only batter on their team that was hitting over .400.”

“I’m really happy that the team as a whole stepped up, because we knew this was a big game, because we really want to come back and play Greenbrier again on Thursday,” Coyne said.

Last year, the Lady Saints reached the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I state championship game, but this year they have joined Division II, the same level that Greenbrier plays in. If NSA advances to the same point this year, it will have to go through its archrival in the TCIS.

On Friday, Nansemond-Suffolk started the game well with a triple from Mears.

“Couldn’t get her in,” Aston said.

This same issue cropped up on Tuesday.

Greenbrier pitcher Kayla Harris proved formidable, leading to a 3-0 Lady Gators win.

“She’s a righty, but she throws a lot of outside pitches,” Carr said of Harris.

“We just need to come out jumping on the first pitch, because she does throw a first-pitch strike every time,” Coyne said. “So, definitely need to work on hitting outside pitches and hitting good balls.”

Carr, who played for last year’s NSA squad that beat Greenbrier to win the TCIS tourney, compared that 2012 Lady Saints team with the current one.

“Last year, our bats were better,” she said. “This year we have good bats too, but still a lot of work to be done.”

Coyne drew encouragement from the improvement her team showed on Friday over NSA’s first meeting this season with GCA in March, a 15-0 loss.

“I think, defensively, we played a lot better,” she said. “I think we weren’t as eager to hit as we should have been. We were letting too many strikes to go by early in the count, and then we were getting behind, and that’s when we got into trouble.”

Nansemond-Suffolk will play Greenbrier on Thursday at the Petersburg Sports Complex.