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Showing a memory that would put an elephant to shame, the Jefferson Forest softball team kept its foot on the throttle ensuring there would be no repeat of the last time it faced Rustburg.
In that earlier season meeting, the Red Devils stormed back from an 8-0 deficit to beat the Lady Cavs 9-8. In last Friday?s matchup at Forest, the Lady Cavs raced out to an 8-0 first inning lead. But with everyone (players, coaches, fans, family members and sheriff?s deputies) reminding them of the last meeting, the Lady Cavs kept piling it on. The end result was an 18-3, mercy-rule shortened affair.
Forest?s bats remained potent, smashing out 16 hits. Pitcher Carly Farmer looked confident, scattering seven hits over six innings. The defense behind her looked solid, committing only one error.
?We didn?t let up,? noted Forest Head Coach Gary Harris. ?We just wanted to put them away.?
Put the Devilettes away they did. During a circus-like first inning, Forest put up those 8 runs in a variety of ways. Chelsea Lavender, caught in a potential run-down at third, bolted for home, sliding under the tag. Carly Farmer?s short pop to right brought home two more. Kara Hannell?s double to center field drove home another three.
The Cavs chased the Devil?s starting pitcher before she?d logged her second out of the inning.
Overall, it was a textbook effort by the Lady Cavs, unlike their loss to Amherst. In that one, poor defense and a tendency to chase bad pitches doomed Forest to a 6-2 loss. That one hurt.
Amherst raced out to a 5-0 third inning lead and never looked back. ?We had to play catchup,? stated Harris. ?We?re not used to that.?
Additionally, on Monday evening, play resumed on the Lady Cavs? game with Brookville, which had been suspended due to rain over a week ago. The Bees took that 4-3 advantage and built it to a 6-3 win, putting them squarely in the driver?s seat for the Seminole crown at 8-2, two games up on Liberty and JF.
Liberty in a funk
In what has become one of the more intriguing developments of the season, the Liberty Minettes have suddenly built up a four-game losing streak. That streak was only broken by the team?s win over Heritage.
After running through the majority of the season with the look of a team of destiny, the squad has taken on the appearance of just another also-ran in the District.
This is the time of year when a coach wants the team to peak. Instead, the Minettes are in a trough. After losing to Forest a couple of weeks ago, the Minettes dropped a squeaker to Staunton River.
Things got worse this past week, when the team dropped consecutive losses to Brookville and Amherst. If there?s a silver lining to this dark cloud, it is that the games have been close. Brookville beat the Minettes 5-4 and Amherst took its win by a score of 1-0.
Clearly a talented and experienced group of players, Liberty?s recent woes seem to be fueled by a notable lack of offensive production. Over the four losses, the team has averaged 1.5 runs per game. Against the Bees, the bats caught fire as the Minettes pounded out 14 hits. But, leaving numerous runners stranded, they could only push across 4 runs.
The team did pick up a win Monday night, taking care of Heritage 9-5.
The team looks to get back to its (continued) winning ways at Rustburg (Today, Wednesday), and when it hosts Forest (this Friday).
The team that should be dead and buried has become the giant slayer of the Seminole. Expectations for the Lady Eagles could not have been lower following the team?s double-digit poundings at the hands of JF and Rustburg. Now, following wins over Heritage and Brookville, Staunton River has its sights set on a home berth for the Seminole tournament.
While the 4-1 win over District leading Brookville was a stunner, the 5-1 win over the Pioneers was ?the most important game of the year,? according to Coach Tom Karnes. The coach cited the fact that the game served as proof to the team that the first half of the season (in which the Eagles lost four one-run games) is over.
In that game, Jordan Merrill put up all the needed runs with a 2-RBI single in the fourth inning. That was followed, in the fifth, by Caitlin Falls? solid double to left-center field, which scored a pair.
The final run was plated when Samantha Mayhew laced a double, moved to third on a passed ball, and scooted on home when sister Sarah grounded out to second.
Coach Karnes tipped his hat to the defense. ?What is really impressive about the defensive stand was that three times Heritage led off an inning with a double, but only managed to bring one of those ladies home,? he stated.
Against Brookville, Staunton River showed its speed game. In the second inning, Kelly Jackson led off with a single to center. With the hit-and-run in play and Joelle Forbes at bat, Forbes? shot to the shortstop forced a play at first. Jackson kept right on going, and wound up scoring on the errant throw.
The team also did something uncharacteristic (compared with the first half of the season). In the fourth inning and with two outs, the team rallied successfully. Jackson hit a single, Forbes walked and Falls beat out an infield hit to load ?em up. Catcher Jamie Hoover delivered the goods with a clean hit to right field that scored two runs.
Hoover would deliver another RBI in the sixth, giving her three for the evening.
Pitcher Raven Burnette was miserly, giving up only one hit in quieting the Brookville bats and sacrificing only one unearned run in getting the win.
Coach Karnes acknowledged that it would have been easy for the team to throw in the towel when things were bleakest. ?Instead they rededicated themselves, pulled together, believed in themselves and their teammates, became a TEAM and refused to go quietly into the night,? he stated. ?You have to love them.?
Well, the bet is that they?re not loved by Brookville.