Lady Cabs win Round 1 with Lady Knights as season hits full stride

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FINCASTLE – Lord Botetourt scored six runs in the first inning enroute to a 7-1 softball victory over James River last Thursday when the two teams met at the Botetourt Sports Complex.

The Cavaliers had four hits and three walks in a first inning where Jessica Simmons threw 42 pitches. Simmons settled down and pitched four scoreless innings until leaving after the fifth, trailing 6-1.

The Knights ended up out-hitting the Cavs, 9-8, but couldn’t put an inning together. Haily Cook and Casie Hill led the Knights with two hits apiece. Jenna Sprinkle had an RBI single, Kaye Woods had a double, and Kayla Hannah, Madison Rhodes, and Simmons had a hit apiece.

Kendra Wood and Macey O’Neill led LB with two hits each. Wood had a two RBI double in the first. Samantha Barton pitched a complete game allowing the nine hits, walking one and striking out five. Simmons struck out seven and walked five.

“We got off to a rocky start,” said River coach Kasey Phillips. “We settled down after the first inning and our pitching kept us in the game.  We continued to put runners on base with opportunities to score but we couldn’t seem to get a timely hit. Lord Botetourt is an extremely disciplined, experienced team that does not make many mistakes.”

LB is now 2-1. The Cavaliers opened with a 5-0 win over Salem last week in Daleville. Barton pitched a complete game shutout, fanning just one but walking none.

“She did a great job keeping the ball down, and our fielders played well behind her,” said LB coach Cheryl Shockley.

Wood had two hits, including a home run, and O’Neill and Meaghan Catron both drove in big runs.

On Friday the Cavs lost for the first tie this year, falling 6-1 at home against Blacksburg. Wood started on the mound and took the loss and Barton pitched the last two innings. Kristen Toppel and Katie Booth had two hits each for the Cavaliers.

River is now 1-2 after losing at Glenvar Saturday, 4-1. The Highlanders took advantage of nine walks, a hit batter, five hits, and two James River errors to beat the Knights.

The Highlanders broke open a 1-1 game with a three run fifth. Glenvar got three of the hits, two walks, and James River committed both of their errors in that inning.

Down 4-1 in the sixth, the Knights loaded the bases with no outs, but failed to score when an infield grounder and a double play pop up bailed out the home team.

Conner Sprinkle had two hits, Haily Cook, Jenna Sprinkle, and Kayla Hannah had one hit each. Despite struggling with her control, Simmons pitched a complete game and only allowed five hits and kept her team in the game.

“Jessica had control issues but she struck out six and battled throughout the contest,” said Phillips. “We played a good game through the fifth inning but made some mistakes and had some missed opportunities that ultimately closed the door on us. We’re going to keep working hard. We’re not catching any breaks right now.”

The Knights will play host to Glenvar today in a rematch on Shotwell Field. On Friday Staunton River is here. 

“The bar has been set pretty high at James River and the pressure to perform is evident,” said Phillips. “This is a new year and a new team. As the girls continue to try to build team chemistry in new positions, and adjust to our new coaching staff, we will continue to take this season one game at a time.”

LB was back in action Tuesday at Blacksburg, but results were too late for publication. On Friday the Cavaliers are at Cave Spring and next Monday, March 26, the girls are at Salem.