River carried 10-1 record into this week; Botetourt’s only 2 losses in  9 games have been to the Knights

LB’s Kloe Bacon slides safely into third against James River.
Photo by Brian Hoffman

The James River and Lord Botetourt softball teams are both having good seasons, and they went head-to-head in Daleville last week in the second of two intra-county games.

River came out on top, 7-5, and the Knights are 10-1 on the season after last week’s action. LB is currently 7-2 and the Cavaliers’ only two losses have been to James River.

“Obviously, I am very happy to win against such a good team,” said River coach Steve Austin. “Winning is the bottom line, but it will be difficult to win many games in the future against a good opponent if we commit five errors. Thankfully, our hitting saved us.”

Down 1-0 after one inning, River exploded against the Cavaliers in the top of the second. With one out, Erin Peery, Josey Lackey and Sydney Gordon had consecutive singles. Then Evie Melvin lined a hard double to left centerfield, scoring Peery and Lackey. After a strikeout, Cameron Hildebrand, Lakota Lucado and Olivia Simmons each had a two-out RBI single as the Knights sent 10 players to the plate while scoring five runs.

The game settled down and stayed at 5-1 until the bottom of the fifth when Lord Botetourt got back in the contest. With one out, Emma Layman singled and stole second before Hannah Mundy tripled to left field. Mundy then scored on a James River error, cutting the score to 5-3.

In the seventh, the visitors got a big two-out double from Hollie Hill, scoring Simmons, and a clutch two-out single from Peery that plated Hill. But the Cavaliers did not go quietly.

After one out in the bottom of the seventh, Layman served her fourth hit of the game to left field. A ground out moved her to second base and she scored on Mundy’s third hit, a double. A James River error and an infield hit by Mary-Hannah Jackson that plated Mundy added to the suspense before Simmons struck out Kloe Bacon with the potential tying runs on base.

Simmons was the winning pitcher despite giving up nine hits to the tough Lord Botetourt line up. She struck out eight and walked one. Lauren Hoffman was the losing pitcher and she was followed on the mound by Maia Folk, who struck out six in five and a third innings.

Peery led James River with four hits and one RBI. Lucado had two hits with one RBI. Melvin had two RBIs on the key double.

“Erin Perry exemplified what our hitting approach was for this game,” said Austin. “Keep wasting tough pitches and then hit the ball where it is pitched. We did that very well as a team.”

For LB, Layman had four hits and three stolen bases, while Mundy had a single, double, and a triple with three RBIs. Maegan Barnes and Jackson had the other two hits.

River went 4-0 for the week, winning all four on the road. On Tuesday the Knights swept a doubleheader at Alleghany, finishing off a prior suspended game and winning the second game, 10-1 and 11-1.

In the nightcap the visiting Knights struck for seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings to blow open a tight game. James River banged out 13 hits, led by Hildebrand with three. Hollie Hill and Josey Lackey both had two hits and two RBIs. Rachel Kickuth had two hits and two runs scored. Olivia Simmons pitched six innings allowing one run on one hit. She struck out 11 and walked two. Kaitlin Simmons pitched a scoreless seventh inning, giving up one hit and one walk.

On Friday at Floyd, River won 6-3 as Olivia Simmons retired the first 12 batters in a row. Lackey stayed hot at the plate with four hits and Gordon had three. Lucado, Hildebrand, and Eubank had two hits each as the Knights banged out 16 hits.

A two-run homer by Floyd’s Macey Vest in the sixth had cut the lead to 5-3 before Brenna Eubank’s RBI hit provided an insurance run for the Knights in the seventh. Simmons had a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh to clinch the victory. She struck out 11 batters and walked none while allowing four hits.

“We need to win our conference games if we want to get into regional play,” said Austin. “This was a really important game.”

LB was at Rockbridge on Friday as the Cavs bounced back with a 13-4 win over the Wildcats. The score was tied 4-4 after five but LB scored seven runs in the sixth inning to win going away.

Botetourt had nine hits in the sixth, with seven singles, a double by Mundy and a triple by Barnes, who also had a solo homer in the fifth. Kaitlyn Deeter had a two-run homer in the game.

The Cavaliers are hitting .419 as a team thus far. On Friday, Maranda Switzer, Kloe Bacon and Layman had three hits each, as Layman had seven hits in LB’s two games last week.

Meredith Wells pitched the final four innings in relief of Maia Folk to pick up the win.

“I was very pleased with our defense,” said coach Cheryl Shockley. “Rockbridge is a very good hitting team.”

This week River was rained out of a Monday game at Auburn and LB was rained out of a Tuesday home game with Staunton River. The LB-Staunton River game was rescheduled for today, and Friday the Cavs are at Northside.

River will be home to Giles on Friday.