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Turn up the heat. They don’t mind it a bit.
Whether that heat is weather-related or in the form of a tight game, the Liberty softballers seem to thrive on it.
The Minettes extended their winning streak to a dozen games, while winning the Seminole tournament and the district’s top seed for Region III play.
It was the second consecutive Seminole tourney crown for a team that started its district run with a 2-2 mark.
The Lady Cavs made quick work of Jefferson Forest before winning a nail-biter over Amherst.
The victories gave Liberty the top district seed for Region III play, the bye that comes with it and a nice trophy to go along with the regular season championship hardware.
The tourney trophy, will not be shared with Brookville, unlike that of the regular season.
Amherst took care of the Bees in the semifinal, meaning Liberty entered Saturday’s game knowing that it had the top seed wrapped up.
The Lady Minutemen still came out looking to top Amherst, even though the Lancers had done them such a favor in knocking off the Bees. It didn’t matter.
Forest falls to Liberty
Liberty rode the strong pitching of Cassidy (or “K-City”) Hensley in the 6-1 win over JF.
The super sophomore struck out an even dozen Lady Cavaliers on a hot and arid Heritage diamond.
“Cassidy gives us a chance, no matter who we play,” said Liberty Head Coach Jeff Monroe. “If we get a few runs, we feel confident with Cassidy. She won’t give up many.”
Indeed, she’s yielded but seven earned runs all season.
K-City got more than enough help from a fellow underclassman. Sam “Bam” Baldwin smacked a pair of doubles, driving in four runs, well more than what was needed.
Callie Glover also helped light it up, bashing three hits and driving in a run.
Forest’s lone run came when Hailey Pinchbeck reached second on a Liberty error. She was advanced to third on Regan Morris’ ground-out and scored on Alexandra Richardson’s grounder to second.
The championship game had been moved to Saturday because of rain.
Both pitchers came out ready to duel, as Hensley faced off with Amherst’s Nia Chiles and Katie Maddox.
Hensley was up to her usual tricks, whiffing 15 Lancers. Chiles and Maddox were equally stingy, allowing but seven Liberty baserunners during regulation.
In the eighth, though, Liberty struck. Morgan Wood and Glover each singled. That set the stage for first baseman Jamie Bennett. Her single drove home the game-winner.
“I feel we don’t have to depend on one person to get the big hit,” said Monroe, who has seen just about every player step up at one time or another.
Liberty hosted Turner Ashby on Tuesday. If they won that game, they’ll head to Jefferson Forest to face the winner of the Stuarts Draft vs. (defending state champ) Northside game.
The title game is on Friday and will also be hosted by Jefferson Forest.