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Payback is sweet for Lady Minutemen softballers

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Hensley, Baldwin head up win over JF

By Mike Forster

  By Mike Forster

sports@bedfordbulletin.com

 

If you thought Liberty’s softball crew was good before, wait’ll you check it out now.

The Lady Minutemen remained locked in a tie for first place in the Seminole District as they blanked Jefferson Forest, 5-0.

The win avenges an early-season 6-2 win by the Lady Cavs over Liberty.

In that game, JF didn’t face one of the premier pitchers in the state.  The Lady Cavs almost didn’t this time, either.

Cassidy Hensley fought off a touch of pregame illness, to notch 13 strikeouts in earning the complete-game victory. 

Hensley opened the game by whiffing the first six Lady Cav batters she faced.  After allowing a fly-out, she struck out the next three red-and-black hitters.

So, of the first ten batters she faced, Hensley fanned nine.

Our obvious question:  What’s the sophomore hurler like when she’s feeling healthy? 

Plenty of Hensley’s mates chipped in to get those five runs.

Liberty got on the board early.  Morgan Wood stroked a single off JF pitcher Alexis Brown (who’s a pretty good darn pitcher, by the way).  Sammy Baldwin nailed a single to center field to score Wood with the game’s first run.

As it turned out, that’s all Liberty would need.

Nonetheless, nobody on the team is likely to eschew insurance runs.

The team put on another run in the second.  Megan Naples stroked a double, stole third and came home on a KiKi Jones bunt.

In the third, Baldwin led off with a single to left.  Stacy Campbell moved her over to second on a single.  Baldwin scored on Kelsey Plott’s single.

Liberty added a pair of runs in the fifth.  Jamie Bennett got on board with a single before Baldwin mauled a home run over the centerfield fence.

It was the freshman’s fourth home run of the season.  “That’s not bad for a freshman,” said Liberty Head Coach Jeff Monroe.  Then he added, “Hey, that’s not bad for anyone.”

The win kept the Lady Minutemen on track with fellow Seminole  leader Brookville.  Each team has but a pair of district losses.

What is remarkable about Liberty’s performance is how everyone continues to step up and contribute, as they had while Hensley was out for the first half of the season (injury).

During that stint, Bennett selflessly moved from first to pitch.  Baldwin covered first.

Other changes involved converting Wood and Callie Glover to infielders from their normal outfield positions.

“I kept trying to get them to understand that each of them has talent,” recalled Monroe.  “If you use it, we can win, even without Cassidy.”

Rather than curl up into a collective ball, the team gave its best shot.  As a result, it was well in the hunt when Hensley returned to the pitcher’s circle, Bennett returned to first and Baldwin headed to the outfield.

It is as though, by working through the hardships, the team has become a much better one.  In essence, the team has emerged the stronger for its adversity.

“Right now, I feel as good as I have all year,” said Monroe. “The girls are confident.”

Jefferson Forest, which got its only hit against Hensley from catcher Callie O’Brien, falls to 3-6 in the Seminole.

The Lady Cavs have games remaining against Heritage (tonight), Amherst (Friday) and Brookville (May 19).

 

LHS beats Amherst

Liberty’s confidence was on display as it blanked Amherst, 6-0, in a key game.

The winner of that game kept pace with Brookville, who topped Rustburg, to improve to 8-2.

Liberty, 8-2 as well, was led by Callie Glover’s 4-for-4 performance at the plate, as well as Hensley’s dozen strikeouts.

The Minettes also got a pair of big hits from Stacy Campbell and a double from A.J. Miller.

In typical Liberty fashion, different players came up big for the team.

Amherst falls to 6-3 in the district.

Liberty has games remaining against Rustburg (tonight, May 11) and Heritage (May 18).