NK upended by late surge
Through six innings, New Kent’s Lady Trojans owned a 2-0 lead despite only two hits. Grafton’s Clippers, on the other hand, had stroked 10 hits, but produced no runs while stranding 13 players on base. That trend came to an abrupt halt.
The visiting Clippers scored twice in the seventh to force extra innings and then pushed across three more runs in the eighth on the way to a 5-3 Bay Rivers District softball win.
Last Friday’s decision left a sour taste in the mouths of Lady Trojan coach Betsey Lane and her team as it marked their second loss in consecutive days. New Kent fell to 8-5 in district play while managing just three hits to Grafton’s 15.
“We played horribly,” a visibly upset Lane said afterward. “We weren’t mentally or physically here. I don’t know if it was yesterday [2-1 loss at Poquoson in 10 innings] or prom [being held the next night]. We just didn’t play New Kent softball.”
While Grafton was busy stranding runners, New Kent’s offense made few inroads against Clipper pitcher Megan Dent until the fourth inning when Lady Trojan leadoff hitter Nikki Jones drew a walk.
Ashley McMichael followed with a sacrifice bunt by design, but the Clipper defense reacted slowly allowing McMichael to beat the throw to first. Dominique Johnson’s one-out sacrifice bunt moved Jones and courtesy runner Jessica Phaup up a base.
With two away, Chelsea Bedwell bounced to second baseman Holly Huskey for an apparent routine play to end the inning. But Huskey fired the ball over the head of first baseman Casey Howell, enabling both New Kent runners to score.
Grafton left the bases loaded in the fifth and stranded another in the sixth before breaking through in the seventh. Huskey and Jessica Turcotte rapped back-to-back singles to open the frame and moved into scoring position on a McMichael wild pitch. Howell grounded out, but Huskey scored on the play to cut the deficit to one. Then Hannah Cook punched a RBI single up the middle to tie.
Johnson reached base on an error to start the New Kent half of the seventh. Bedwell bunted the runner to second, but Dent retired the next two batters to send the game into the eighth.
Three Clipper runs put the game out of reach. Jones walked with two away in the bottom of the eighth and scored on McMichael’s double into the left-center field gap. But Huskey came on in relief to retire Ashley Wood on a ground out third to first to preserve the win.
Grafton opened a 3-0 lead in the first inning and New Kent’s Trojans mustered no answer at the plate as the visiting Clippers walked away with a 6-0 Bay Rivers District baseball win.
Last Friday’s outcome marked the end to an excruciating week in Bay Rivers play for the Trojans who faced the district’s top three teams over a span of five days. Needless to say, all three opponents recorded one-sided victories.
“We’ve only had six hits in the past two games,” moaned Trojan coach Ronnie Cox. “You can’t beat anybody with that kind of production.”
Clipper pitcher Robbie Brownschidle shackled the Trojans on a three-hitter and had a comfortable lead to work with after only four batters had stepped to the plate in the Clipper half of the first inning.
Leadoff hitter Ali Rodriguez opened the contest with a deep drive off Trojan starter Jimmy Newcomb that right fielder Nick Maxim was unable to flag down. With one away, Tristan Maldonado singled to center to drive in Rodriguez. Brownschidle then helped his own cause with a two-run homer over the left field fence.
The Clippers added solo runs in the third, fourth, and seventh.
“[Brownschidle] is one of the best pitchers in the region, and that’s what we’ve seen these past three games,” Cox said. “This week we played the number three, number one, and number two teams in the district and each time we’ve seen their best pitchers.
“Today, our defense was solid and our pitching was okay, but we’ve got to put pressure on the other team offensively,” he said.
The Grafton decision, combined with losses earlier in the week to Poquoson and Tabb, dropped the Trojans to 6-7 in the district.
“We’ve been living in the frying pan a little bit this week,” Cox said.