NRHS softball rules Ironclad tourney
Published 10:11 pm Thursday, May 28, 2015
Thursday night showcased the reversal Nansemond River High School’s softball team had been hungry for since this time last year.
The No. 1 Lady Warriors defeated No. 2 King’s Fork High School 3-1 on Thursday in the Ironclad Conference tournament championship game at Nansemond River, avenging a 3-2 loss to the same opponent in the same game on the same field last year.
“This year is a great feeling, it really is for all of us,” said NR junior KateLynn Hodgkiss.
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After the game, Lady Warriors coach Gabe Rogers said, “I thought that was hard fought.”
The contest was scoreless through the first three innings.
“She was dealing tonight,” Rogers said, highlighting the on-point pitching of King’s Fork senior Sydney Wash (14-7), who finished with nine strikeouts, allowing only four hits and one walk.
“Today, I pitched pretty well,” Wash said, pleased with her improvement from what she considered a flat performance the day before against Lakeland High School.
Roger compared Thursday’s title game showdown to a boxing match.
“What I really loved about that game right there was the battle,” he said. “When we went into voting for Player of the Year, it was Sydney and it was KateLynn. I mean, that was it.”
Referring back to Thursday’s contest, he said, “And so, round one, Sydney got her, pow!”
Wash kept Hodgkiss and Nansemond River not only scoreless but also hitless in the early innings.
“And then round two, KateLynn gets her back,” Rogers said, referring to Hodgkiss’ triple in the fourth. “That’s what heavyweights do. Both of them demonstrated why they were in the position to be considered Player of the Year.”
Given who ultimately won the award, it was fitting that the Lady Warriors triumphed.
Hodgkiss went 2-for-3 with a triple, a run batted in and two runs scored on Thursday.
Then Rogers drew attention to last year’s conference Player of the Year, Hodgkiss’ teammate, junior Jaclyn Mounie, “who comes up huge with a squeeze and then a push bunt that scores another run. Two bunts, two small balls, scores two runs — that’s the ball game.”
Mounie scored Hodgkiss in the fourth to give Nansemond River a 1-0 lead.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth, sophomore Kelly Lafferty hit a triple of her own.
“She’s been so phenomenal all year,” Rogers said of Lafferty. “Her season this year has just been amazing.”
Hodgkiss singled to bring Lafferty home, and Mounie later hit a bunt single to score Hodgkiss, making the score 3-0.
Roger said he tips his hat to King’s Fork.
“What really shows that they’re a very good, quality team is that they didn’t lose their composure,” he said. “They came back, they played well.”
Lady Bulldogs sophomore Lauryn Bailey scored in the top of the seventh. She and junior Susan Mounie finished with the only hits for King’s Fork.
Nansemond River star senior Morgan Lowers has been sidelined with mono and was not able to play on Thursday, but she liked what she saw from her team.
“I just wanted to be out there so bad, but I’m proud of Ashlyn (Rogers) for stepping in for me,” she said. “I think she did a phenomenal job. So, it was a team effort, definitely, and you can tell — Lauren (Maddrey) threw a great game, we put together some hits, laid down the bunt and that’s all you needed.”
Coach Rogers cited his junior pitcher as the key reason his team avenged its loss last year to King’s Fork. He said that this year, “Maddrey was on. Maddrey was dealing, right there with Sydney.”
He said she is a different style of pitcher compared to Wash and does not typically rack up the same number of strikeouts, but she is asked to beat up the strike zone and don’t lose games.
“She did her job,” he said.
Maddrey (16-2) threw three strikeouts and allowed only two hits, three walks and one earned run.
Nansemond River (19-2) hosts a Region 4A South quarterfinal game on Monday, while King’s Fork (14-7) will go on the road.