The James River Knights lost their first two Three Rivers District softball games of the season last week, and they were both against the same team. Carroll County beat the Knights 5-2 in Hillsville last Thursday and 7-6 in Springwood on Monday to take undisputed control of first place in the district.
“Carroll County is a really good softball team that is having a great season and they are always well coached,” said River coach Steve Austin. “We have to put Carroll County behind us move on.”
Last Thursday at Carroll pitcher Emma Leath limited James River to three hits and six baserunners in the 5-2 win. Austyn Moran had an RBI double for the Knights and Ripley Barry and Karlee Eubank had singles while Kaycee Kincaid had an RBI sacrifice fly.
Moran scattered six hits and allowed only two earned runs in the loss, striking out 10 hitters and allowing only one walk.
“The Carroll pitcher was especially good early in the game, retiring our first t10 batters,” said Austin. “She shut us down, set the tone, and kept us at bay most of the contest.”
On Monday at home James River scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, highlighted by a two-run homer by Kaycee Kincaid, but fell one run short in a 7-6 loss. It was Kincaid’s seventh home run of the season.
The visitors jumped out on top with a three-run third inning where they had four hits, including two doubles. The Knights answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third. With one out, Lexi McCullough walked and Elly Lackey beat out an infield hit to deep short. They moved up to second and third on the late throw to first base that kicked away. Austyn Moran then drove them both in with a single to right field.
Leading 3-2 in the fifth inning, Carroll got a lead off single by Kalee Easter, and they sacrificed her to second. With two outs clean up hitter Alyssa Nunn knocked her in with a hard single to right field.
Once again, in the bottom of fifth, the home team responded. This time with a solo home run to right center by Jenna Pugh, her sixth home run of the year, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
In the seventh inning the Cavaliers benefitted from a lead off walk, an error and two hits in a three-run top of the seventh, setting the stage for the Knights’ futile rally. With the victory Carroll County improved to 13-2 overall and 6-1 in the district. The Knights slid to 12-3 overall and 4-2 in the Three Rivers.
“I’m encouraged by how hard we fought right to the end,” said Austin. “We played from behind all night long and just couldn’t get over the hump.”
River was scheduled to play at Radford on Tuesday, then hosts Alleghany on Friday.
2011 James River softball champs honored
The 2011 James River state championship softball team was honored prior to the Knights’ game with Floyd County in Springwood on April 29. The team celebrated its 10 -ear anniversary in 2021 but due to COVID no on-field ceremony was permitted. Pictured, left to right, are Coach John Shotwell, Taylor Statome Austin, Hailey Cook, Danielle Seeman Bailey, Jessica Simmons, Hannah Morrow John, Hope Falls, Haley Shotwell and Assistant Coach Andy Shotwell. Not present were Abby Tincher Davis, Casie Hill, Conner Sprinkle Hill, Madison Rhodes, Kayla Hannah Shires, Jenna Sprinkle and Assistant Coach E.D. Schechterly.