Lady Knights Cruise Past PECHS In Softball Opener

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2012

FARMVILLE – In high school varsity athletics, there's young, and then there's the Prince Edward County High School softball team. The Lady Eagles started three freshmen and a number of sophomores in Monday afternoon's season opener, an 8-1 loss to Buckingham.

Buckingham, which is facing some big questions heading into the 2012 season as well, capitalized on several Prince Edward errors to break open a 1-1 game in the top of the fourth with three runs, and added another four in the top of the fifth to remove any doubt in regards to the outcome.

“I preached before the game that the most important thing is to put the ball in play,” said Buckingham first year head coach Krissy Stearrett. “If you get good, solid hits, something will happen. You'll get a hit, they'll make a play, or maybe they'll make a mistake. They did what they were supposed to do.”

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“That is something we're going to have to improve upon, said PECHS head coach Marvin Meadows. “We've always prided ourselves on being a pretty good defensive team, and we made some errors today. You can't give a team extra outs and expect to win. But we've only been outside four days before today, so you have to allow for some of that, and I can see that we're moving in the right direction.”

Prince Edward manufactured a run in the bottom of the second. Estephanie Luperon was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a passed ball, was sacrificed to third by senior Casey Meadows and scored on a wild pitch.

Quante Bowles, who was at the plate when Luperon scored, reached second, before being stranded in scoring position after a pop-up to second base.

Buckingham answered back in the top of the third. BCHS sophomore Mackenzi Crump, who started in the circle for the Knights, reached on a walk, stole second and advanced to third on an error. She scored on a sacrifice fly by Elynn Lee, but the Lady Eagles managed to get out of the inning with no further damage despite a couple of mental fielding errors during the final play that resulted in Buckingham's Robyn Davis being barely edged out at the plate.

The Lady Eagles were unable to take advantage of the swing in momentum in the bottom of the third, and the Lady Knights took full advantage in the top of the fourth. An error in the outfield put Buckingham's Ebony Davis on base with one out. She was followed by Sierra Coleman, who drew a walk. Both scored on a two-RBI double by Tyshell Chambers, who scored on an RBI single by Crump.

Buckingham scored four more runs in the top of the fifth to basically put the game away.

Savannah Gough reached base on an error to begin the inning, and was followed by a Kristen Jamerson single and a walk issued to Morgan Huddleston. After Gough scored, Jamerson and Huddleston came around to score when Coleman reached on an error, who scored on a slap single by Cyndi Carwile.

Prince Edward managed to get runners on base in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Ashlee Todt singled and Elizabeth Reed reached on a walk, but the Lady Eagles were unable to get either one around to score.

Crump, who pitched the first four innings for Buckingham, before being relieved by Davis, took the victory, while PE freshman Emily Roach, who pitched five innings before giving way to Meadows, took the loss.

“As long as I've been coaching in the program, we've had an unquestioned starting pitcher with no real back-up,” said Stearrett. “That's been about ten years, but we don't have that this year. I think both Mackenzi and Robyn did well tonight, and they hit their spots. Neither one is going to overpower everybody, but as long as they can continue to hit their spots, I feel our defense can back them up.”

The Lady Eagles find themselves in a similar situation.

“We've always seemed to have one solid pitcher that did the biggest share of the work on the mound,” said Marvin Meadows. “They may not have been overpowering, but we could count on them to hit their spots. Right now, we're working on that.

“I thought Emily pitched a pretty good game. She's not going to strike out a lot of batters, but if we play good defense behind her, she can be a very effective pitcher. Casey gives us a change of pace, and I think she showed today that when she hits her spots she can be just as effective. The good thing is that we do have options. Some days we'll start Emily and finish up with Casey, and some days we'll start Casey and finish with Emily.”

Both Buckingham and Prince Edward are relatively young from top to bottom. Buckingham has two freshmen on its roster and four sophomores, while Prince Edward has five freshmen on its roster with four starting. A large portion of the remainder of the roster is made up of sophomores.

“We may start all five freshmen some days,” said Meadows. “This is a group that's going to get better as the year goes on, and be really good a couple of years down the road.”

With the departure of Bluestone, Goochland and Powhatan, the Southside District is not going to host a tournament, instead teams will play one-another three times on the schedule.

“I kind of like that,” said Meadows. “It doesn't give you a lot of room for error, but I think we're capable of beating everyone in the district. Should we, probably not, but can we, I think we can.”

For Buckingham, Stearrett feels there will be some ups and downs.

“We have three seniors and two juniors with the rest being freshmen and sophomores. We have some questions, but it's a hard-working group.

“It's still going to be tough this year. Goochland, Bluestone and Nottoway are all known for having strong softball teams, and when you add in Central, who has a solid pitcher and Randolph-Henry which is always good, it's not going to be an easy road for us. We've just got to keep working hard every pitch and take everything as it comes.”