Gunter’s home run sparks LB to a win over James River in softball

Madison Gunter hit a three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning to propel Lord Botetourt to a 5-0 softball win over James River in Daleville last week.

Gunter’s blast came following walks to Maegan Barnes and Kloe Bacon. The Cavaliers added two additional unearned runs in the fourth inning on a two-out, two-run single to left by Gianna Sloan-Lebron immediately after her foul pop up was mishandled and dropped in foul territory.

James River had three hits and worked three walks off of Cavalier ace Meredith Wells but Wells toughened in the seventh when the Knights threatened to load the bases with only one out. Wells got two of her four strikeouts in the seventh and she benefited from a nifty defensive play by right fielder Sloan-Lebron, who hustled in to field a looper and force pinch runner Karlee Eubank at second base, stealing a hit from Josey Lackey.

Erin Peery, Ainsley Simmons, and Lackey had the hits for the Knights. Gunter and Sloan-Lebron had the big hits for Lord Botetourt and Audrey Butler, Halle Reese, and Barnes had hits as well.

Wells scattered three hits with four strikeouts and three walks to get the shutout win for the Cavaliers. Knights sophomore pitcher Ainsley Simmons allowed five hits while striking out one hitter and walking four.  Bacon made a handful of stellar defensive plays at third base.

“We lost to a very good team on the road and I give them the credit,” said River coach Steve Austin. “Wells was tough, especially when we threatened a couple of times and their defense made some big plays. For us to beat a team as good as LB we need to play almost perfect softball and we have to hit with them and we didn’t do either of those things in this game”.

The Cavaliers improved to 6-1 on the season with a 9-8 win at Cave Spring last Thursday. This game went back-and-forth as the Knights scored three in the first but LB rallied to tie the game at 3-3 with a run in the second and two in the third on a two-run double by Gunter.

Both teams scored a run in the fourth, but the Cavaliers plated one in the fifth, two in the sixth and a two in the top of the seventh on a two run homer by Lauren Hoffman to take a 9-4 lead. That proved to be big when the Knights rallied for four in the bottom of the seventh but came up just short. Wells got the win, improving her personal record to 5-0, allowing just two earned runs.
River bounced back with a 14-10 win over Parry McCluer in Springwood Friday evening. The home squad rallied from one run down in the sixth inning to beat the Blues.

“If you want to know how you can out-hit your opponent 17-8 and still be biting your fingernails in the last inning, just make six errors on defense,” said Austin. “Add in the wind blowing out with all of their extra chances and you have the type of game we played on Friday evening.”

The Knights banged out 17 hits led by Cameron Hildebrand’s three hits and five RBIs. Lakota Lucado also had three hits, all doubles, with two RBIs and three runs scored. Evie Melvin had three singles and three RBIs. Madison Brogan and Ainsley Simmons had two hits apiece.

On Monday the Buffalo gals scored five runs on five hits in the second inning to propel them to a 6-3 road victory over James River in Springwood. The visitors had two doubles and a triple in the big inning that was exasperated by one Knight error in the middle of the inning.

James River rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut the score in half. An RBI double by losing pitcher Ainsley Simmons plated the Knights first run then Lakota Lucado followed with a two run single. Lacy Lucado, batting as the potential tie run with two runners on base, lined out sharply to deep center field to end the threat.
James River got runners on in each of the last three innings but could not push another run across. Lakota Lucado led the Knights with two hits and two RBIs. Before lining a ball sharply off of Buffalo second baseman Aimee Whitlow that caromed to shortstop Morgan Harris for a force play in the sixth inning, Lakota had nine consecutive hits off of the Buffalos’ dating back to last year. Erin Peery also had two hits for the Knights who equaled Floyd County with seven team hits.
“Floyd has a strong, veteran team,” said Austin. “They are not easy to beat. We just dug ourselves too deep a hole early.”

James River dropped to 3-2 overall, and 0-1 in Three Rivers district play. The Knights are now off until this weekend when both River and LB play in the annual “Botetourt Bash” at the Botetourt Sports Complex.

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