The rude hosts

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Forest takes two diamond games from River

By Mike Forster

  Some believe that the Forest area is the best in Bedford County, pointing to Poplar Forest and its proximity to Lynchburg.

Others point to the southern part of the county as tops, citing Smith Mountain Lake and the bucolic farmland.

Well, this year anyway, there's no doubt about one thing:  When it comes to play on the ball diamond, the Forest dwellers have it all over those from South Bedford County.

The JF ball clubs completed a season sweep of River last Wednesday, though the Eagles didn't go quietly.


Lady Cavs 5, Lady Eagles 2 (5 innings)

That's more like it.

Unlike the last time Jefferson Forest and Staunton River softballers met on the field of play, this time both teams showed up.

The Lady Cavs took a well-played 5-2 win over their counterparts from the south.  The game was called after five innings of play because of lightning.

Staunton River, while not happy about absorbing a loss, could hold its collective head high for the way it played, and for the way it played sounder ball against Jefferson Forest.

The first time these two teams played, the Golden Eagle defense was, well, indefensible, as it committed seven errors in absorbing a 14-3 loss.

This time, pitcher Amanda Ferguson got much stronger backing, as the Eagles committed but two errors.

But the greatest fielding in the world wasn't going to overcome the booming bat of  JF's  Hailey Pinchbeck.  "The Commander" got all of a Ferguson offering in the first half, drilling the ball over the center field wall, bringing home Callie O'Brien as well as herself.  "She looks comfortable out here," said JF Head Coach Joanna Hardin, of Pinchbeck. 

JF picked up a trio of runs in the second off singles by Skylar and Reagan Morris, Erin Tomlin and the Commander.  MacKenzie Mount tossed in a nice sacrifice bunt during that festive run.

River countered with a pair of runs in the third to tie the score, when Remington Whorley and Lauren Mitchell scored on singles by Mitchell and Carol Rice.

"I'm really proud of (my team)," said Staunton River Head Coach Duck Dellis.  "Our defense really held."

That defense also held, yielding but two errors, as Staunton River took Heritage, 4-2, on Monday night.  Ferguson allowed but two hits, while striking out five. 

Sam Cisco and Paige McPeak came up with big two-RBI hits.  Addie Tuck rapped out three hits, while third baseman Rice added a pair.


Forest 7, River 1

Antonio Fazio blasted his first home run of the season, a shot over the left field wall, to pace the Cavs.

Foz's tater stifled talk of the new-style bats ending the high school home run.  "These bats do have a sweet spot," said JF Head Coach Jim Thacker.  "They're just not as big."

For the record, Fazio found the small spot just as sweet.

Thacker employed four pitchers in the game:  Michael Carter, Alex Bowker, Nate Williamson and Drew Phemister.  All looked effective, for the most part, though Bowker gets the gold star for this game:  He struck out all six Eagles he faced in his two-inning performance.

River's Cam Packsoy absorbed the loss in a game that was delayed for over an hour so that fans could watch the spectacular lightning show.

River's one run came when Mitchell Hullett and Patrick Love hit consecutive doubles in the sixth inning.

JF's highlight inning came in the first when the Cavs posted four runs.  That outburst was keyed by hits from Jake Kliewer, Cal Hodgert, Cameron Byrd and Bryan Miller.

That type of offensive output would have come in handy last Friday night.  That's when JF fell to E.C. Glass.  Hilltopper Nygeal Andrews put on a personal baseball clinic.  

Andrews pitched seven strong innings, striking out 12 Cavs for good measure.

He also belted a home run while going three-for-four at the plate.  There was no word on whether Andrews also ran the concession stand and sold 50-50 tickets between innings.  In all seriousness, Andrews is also a crackerjack shortstop.

"All credit to Andrews," marvelled Coach Thacker.  "He was a one-man show.  We couldn't figure him out."

As Glass also topped Brookville earlier in the week, the Toppers are at the top o' the Seminole heap.  "I've always believed it's anyone's race," said Thacker.

Staunton River, meanwhile, topped Heritage, 8-3, as Love picked up the victory.

The Eagle offense was powered by Hullett and Josh DeHart, who each belted out a pair of hits.  Len Duncan added a pair of RBIs to help the Eagle cause.

The Eagles open Blue Ridge District play on Thursday, when they head to Rockbridge for a baseball/softball twinbill.