NK begins title defense, shuts out Tabb 1-0
New Kent’s Lady Trojans rate as the team to beat in Bay Rivers District softball. After all, they are the defending district and Region I champs plus Group AA state runners-up.
Tabb’s invading Tigers fired a season-opening salvo on March 13, aiming for the notoriety of being first to knock off the Lady Trojans. But behind Becca Mills’ two-hit pitching backed up by a solid defensive effort, New Kent posted a 1-0 victory as the mistake-prone Tigers failed in their mission.
Tabb, however, had its chance to break on top in the first inning, but a combination of New Kent defense and a crucial Tiger base-running error thwarted the visitors.
Mills bounced a pitch off leadoff batter Katelin Kline who took second moments later on a sacrifice. The next hitter, Danielle Gleason, stroked a single up the middle. Kline rounded third and bolted for home, but a perfect throw from center fielder Dana Tompkins to catcher Laura Bauer nailed Kline at the plate.
Gleason took second on the play and appeared to score on Melanie Tenney’s bouncing single up the middle, but Gleason was called out for runner interference on the base paths, ending the threat.
“That throw from Dana really helped,” Lady Trojan coach Betsey Lane said afterward. “It got everybody pumped up.
“Tabb made some costly errors while we made plays and hit the ball in the air,” she said.
The Tigers’ fielding follies began at the outset as errors helped New Kent get runners aboard in the first and second frames. But the hosts stranded two in the first and one in the second before breaking through in the third.
Tyler Fleming started the New Kent third against Gleason, slapping a base hit over the head of Tenney at shortstop. Fleming never broke stride, hustling to second for a double.
Gleason retired the next two batters and was poised to get out the jam if she could erase Bauer, the hosts’ cleanup hitter. Bauer, however, lined a single to left field, but not deep enough to score Fleming who was held at third.
Kayla Timberlake then grounded to Tenney who bobbled the ball before uncorking a wild throw to first. Fleming trotted home for the deciding run.
“We knew coming in that we’ve got a big target on our backs,” Lane said. “But we’re looking forward to a great season.”