New Kent stays unbeaten with 8-1 conquest of Grafton
After spotting Grafton’s Clippers a one-run lead, New Kent’s Lady Trojans erupted for four runs in the fourth inning and piled on four more in the sixth on the way to an 8-1 triumph in a battle of early season Bay Rivers District softball unbeatens.
New Kent improved to 3-0 with the March 17 win while Grafton fell to 2-1.
The victors received timely hitting from the bottom of the order that produced four of the hosts’ nine hits. Those hits came during the crucial fourth and sixth frames.
“That’s been something we’ve really needed,” New Kent coach Betsey Lane said, pointing to her six through nine batters responding. “We always try to put the ball in play and those players came through today.”
Number six batter Kayla Timberlake loaded the bases with a single in the fourth, and the ninth hitter, Chelsea Bedwell, singled in one of the four runs. Then in the sixth, Maria Bates and Ashley McMichael, seventh and eighth respectively in the batting order, stroked singles to start another four-run frame.
Grafton forged ahead in the top of the fourth after Stephanie Poates bounced a one-out single up the middle. Poates took second on a wild pitch, just before Lady Trojan pitcher Becca Mills fanned Casey Howell for the second out, and scored on Kelly Anderson’s double into the left-center field gap.
Clipper starter Jessica Turcotte took a two-hit shutout into the fourth inning, but New Kent retaliated with one away in the frame. Laura Bauer singled between shortstop and third, Nikki Jones walked, and Timberlake lined a single down the left field line to load the bases.
Bates popped to third for the second out, but Turcotte bounced a pitch off McMichael’s elbow to force in the tying run. Bedwell then stroked a single to center to put New Kent in front to stay.
Tyler Fleming’s ground ball past the mound resulted in a throwing error to first. Two runs scored on the play, upping New Kent’s lead to 4-1.
Grafton threatened in the fifth behind one-out singles by Laura Hayward and Morgan Heath, but Mills caught Turcotte looking at a third strike and got Kate Bullard to pop up to Bates at shortstop to end the uprising.
Mills went on to retire the Clippers in order over the final two frames. In all, she surrendered five hits while striking out seven and not issuing a walk.
New Kent, meanwhile, put the game out of reach in the sixth after the Bates and McMichael singles. Bedwell drew a walk to fill the sacks and chase Turcotte, who was relieved on the mound by Megan Dent.
Dent, however, encountered control problems, uncorking a series of wild pitches that led to three New Kent runs. Jones singled up the middle to drive in the hosts’ final run.
Grading her team’s performance, which included nine hits and errorless play in the field, Lane said, “I would say an ‘A.’ We’re not perfect yet.”