Lady Bulldogs must practice patience

Published 10:04 pm Friday, March 20, 2015

The King’s Fork High School softball team has promise this year, but it seems like it will have to wait a bit for the pieces to come together.

Offseason injuries have left the Lady Bulldogs at less than full strength to start the 2015 season.

Nevertheless, they showed potential to win their season opener on Tuesday, but four errors in one inning led to a 6-2 home loss to Deep Creek High School.

King’s Fork High School senior Sydney Wash is back on the mound for the Lady Bulldogs, expected to help them be competitive, despite some injuries to other players on the team.

King’s Fork High School senior Sydney Wash is back on the mound for the Lady Bulldogs, expected to help them be competitive, despite some injuries to other players on the team.

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“I thought we hit well enough to win,” King’s Fork coach Richard Froemel said.

The Lady Bulldogs had seven hits for the game, and junior Kay’Lee Justice helped get her team off to a strong start. In the first inning, she hit a stand-up double, then took advantage of bad throws to second and third to give her team a 1-0 lead.

King’s Fork had a momentous 2014 season. Going 16-9 overall, the Lady Bulldogs were the inaugural Ironclad Conference softball tournament champions and reached the regional playoffs for the first time in school history.

They advanced as far as the regional semifinals before falling to Grafton High School.

The player losses since then have been significant.

Gone due to graduation are outfielder Ashley Roten, third baseman Kayla Harbin and outfielder/catcher Kayla Jones.

But some expected returning players will also be missing to start the 2015 season. Senior first baseman Shaina Holland got in a car accident, cracking her kneecap and cutting ligaments in her thumb.

She had surgery and is presently out indefinitely.

“She was my solid hitter and a good fielder,” Froemel said.

He later added she told him she could be back four weeks from now, but he was not sure that estimate would hold.

Sophomore Danielle Arzillo, who contributed the varsity team late last year, blew her anterior cruciate ligament back in September and had surgery on it in November.

Froemel said she was told it would be five months before she could return, so he hopes to have her back after spring break.

He brought up three players from the junior varsity team, and counting the injured players, he has a team of four seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen.

Froemel refused to call this a rebuilding year in the face of the injuries and graduations, because he still has his ace pitcher on the mound, senior Sydney Wash, and he said he just needs his new players to work together.

“We’re going to be very competitive,” he said.

He expects the Lady Bulldogs to be strong against Denbigh, Heritage and Phoebus high schools, but knows Nansemond River High School will pose a formidable challenge.

Wash is back to health after a junior season affected by a lingering back injury.

“She’s swinging the bat very good this year,” Froemel said. “Swinging it hard.”

He expects her to see a lot of time on the mound against the Southeastern District schools to start the season but plans to allow Justice to get some time during conference play to prepare for life without Wash.

When she is not pitching, Justice will play in the outfield.

Senior Jasmine Holloman is back at shortstop and is also serving as lead-off hitter.

Froemel said senior Kirsten Wutcher, who mans second base, is “good contact hitter, steady in the field.”

Freshman Madison Froemel is currently starting at third base, and shows promise on offense.

“She swings the bat well,” said Coach Froemel, her father. “I think she’s going to help us in some spots.”

King’s Fork (0-1) visits Grassfield High School on Monday at 5:30 p.m.