Four-run sixth inning lifts New Kent past Smithfield
For five innings, New Kent’s Lady Trojans could not solve the delivery of Smithfield pitcher Laura Lincoln. A 1-0 Packer lead appeared safe as New Kent batters chased Lincoln’s changeup and were kept off balance by the freshman hurler mixing her pitches.
But with two away in the bottom of the sixth, New Kent bats erupted. And with the help of a pair of Packer errors, the hosts pushed across four runs to stun the visitors 4-1 in Bay Rivers District softball. The April 8 decision upped New Kent’s record to 5-3 while Smithfield dipped to 4-2.
“[Lincoln] typically threw that changeup after getting a strike,” Lady Trojan coach Betsey Lane said, adding that she began giving her hitters the green light on first pitches.
But it was a Lincoln first pitch bounced off leadoff batter Maria Bates that got New Kent started in the sixth.
“I think Maria getting hit by that first pitch gave us a spark,” Lane said.
Nikki Jones laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Bates to second, but Laura Bauer popped out in foul ground, placing Lincoln one out away from preserving the Packer lead.
Lincoln, however, walked Becca Mills. Then a ground ball off the bat of Rachel Baldwin elicited a throw to first in the dirt from shortstop Samantha Baham. The error enabled Bates to bolt for the plate and beat the throw home to tie the game.
On the play, Mills and Baldwin moved into scoring position for Kayla Timberlake who looped a two-run single into left field for a 3-1 New Kent lead.
Ashley McMichael followed with a grounder to second baseman Brittany Irvine who flipped the ball to Barham covering second for an easy force out, but Barham dropped the ball for her second error of the frame.
Pinch hitter Chelsea Bedwell then lined a single down the left field line, scoring Mills for the final Lady Trojan run.
Mills retired the side in order in the seventh and final frame to preserve the win.
Mills had run into trouble in the Packer third after Baham beat out an infield single with one away. With two down, she struck Sarah McBurney with a pitch and gave up a RBI single to left after reaching a full count on Kip Webb.
“Becca was able to regroup from that inning and came back strong,” Lane said.