Ainsley Simmons pitches for James River.
Photo by Brian Hoffman

Glenvar pitcher Sophie McCulley threw a perfect game against James River on Monday evening in Springwood as the visiting Highlanders took a 3-0 victory.
McCulley was dominant from the start, striking out the first 10 batters she faced on her way to a 17 strikeout game. She threw only 83 pitches, 64 of them strikes.

The Knights put only four balls into play, all fly balls. Lakota Lucado’s looper to shallow left field in the fourth was caught over the shoulder by shortstop Courtney Raines. That was the closest the Knights came to a hit. Josey Lackey worked two 3-2 counts in her at bats, the only two three ball counts in the game for McCulley.

The Highlanders scored all three unearned runs in the fourth inning on only one hit. Three James River errors, two of the throwing variety, led to the uprising.

Knights pitcher Ainsley Simmons pitched a six hitter with two strikeouts and four walks. McCulley and McKenzie Pulliam had two hits each to lead the Glenvar offense.

James River fell to 9-8, 6-4 while Glenvar improves to 16-3, 10-1.

“All credit to Sophie McCulley for a tremendous performance,” said River coach Steve Austin. “She had velocity, control, and the rise ball working flawlessly. She was outstanding.

“When we saw her for the first time a couple of weeks ago she struggled with her rise ball and we were able to lay off of it and work multiple walks. But tonight the rise was precise and virtually impossible to pick up until it was too late.”

The win snapped a four-game winning streak for the Knights. Last week River was 3-0, including two wins over Alleghany on back-to-back Knights.

Last Tuesday the Knights scored in every inning on their way to an 11-1 win over Alleghany in Springwood. The game was shortened to five innings because of the 10-run rule.

James River beat Alleghany for the second time in 24 hours on Wednesday in Low Moor with a decisive 10-3 victory. The Knights banged out 13 hits and scored at least one run in each of the first six innings.

Lacey Lucado hit a two run homer in the top of the second inning to put her squad ahead for good, breaking a 1-1 tie. James River scored three runs in the third inning on four hits to move out to a 6-1 lead. The big hit was a two out, two run double by Cameron Hildebrand.

Ainsley Simmons pitched a complete game, scattering six hits while striking out five batters and walking two with a 96-pitch effort. Only one of the three runs was earned.

Lacey Lucado and Evie Melvin led River with three hits apiece. Lakota Lucado and Erin Peery had two hits each.

On Friday River rode the pitching of Simmons and sprinkled in some timely hitting as they stymied the host Bobcats, 6-1, in Radford. Simmons scattered five singles and struck out three hitters and walked only one. Her 85-pitch effort was bolstered by a Knights defense that committed only one error.

“It was a complete effort by our team on the road and a fitting way to end a really good week,” said Austin. “Pitching, defense and hitting came together and when that happens we are a pretty good team.”

River is now 9-8 on the season and 6-4 in Three Rivers District games. River is at Floyd tonight and the Knights will close out their regular season on Friday at home against Carroll County.