Covenant ends Lady Saints’ season

Published 10:26 pm Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Some losses are particularly difficult to bear because of the way they happened. Such was the case for Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s softball team on Tuesday in the first round of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state playoffs.

NSA had defeated The Covenant School 1-0 earlier this season, but this time, the Lady Saints fell 2-1 to the Lady Eagles in Charlottesville.

Nansemond-Suffolk head coach Brittany Wilkins said her team’s energy on Tuesday was quite different from the first meeting.

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“It was not at all the intensity that I expected,” she said. “We let Covenant control the entire game. We got behind in pitch counts, taking first pitch strikes, second pitch strikes even, and it’s hard to be successful when you set yourself up with 0-1 or 0-2 counts.”

Wilkins also complimented the play of Covenant’s pitcher, junior Lindsey Chaney, who threw 13 strikeouts.

While the Lady Eagles scored their two runs in the first inning, NSA went scoreless until the sixth, when a comeback finally seemed like it might have been on its way.

With no outs, eighth-grader Kelly Turner got on base after getting hit by a pitch. To move her to second, junior Madi Glynn singled with a bunt, before being replaced as a base runner by junior Taylor Berard. The runners advanced on a passed ball, then Turner scored on freshman Delaney Taylor’s ground out.

But the Lady Saints’ next two batters struck out.

“We had plenty of opportunities to score,” Wilkins said. She added that NSA “just couldn’t capitalize and string together the hits.”

Each team had five hits for the game. Covenant had no errors, but the Lady Saints had two in the first inning, “and that is what cost us the game,” Wilkins said.

Nansemond-Suffolk finished the season with an overall record of 12-9. Though the coach said it was tough to go out with a loss she did not expect, “I’m definitely very proud of these girls. They’ve come a long way and played with their heart. I think so many of them have improved in so many ways this year.”

She pointed to all the strong youth, noting the team has players providing a good foundation for the future.

One player it will not have moving forward, however, is senior Macy Mears. Tuesday’s game marked the end of her remarkable softball career. She will attend James Madison University in the fall, but has opted not to pursue the sport on the intercollegiate level.

Playing as a member of the Lady Saints varsity team since eighth grade, she leaves as a five-time first team all-conference selection and a three-time first team all-state selection.

She was her team’s lone offensive standout on Tuesday, going 2-for-3 at the plate.

“She’s definitely going to leave behind some big shoes to fill,” Wilkins said.