The James River softball team improved to 3-0 on the season with two wins in the Salem Invitational at the James I. Moyer Complex in Salem last weekend.
On Friday night the girls played host Salem and took a 4-2 win over the Spartans. The Knights jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning and would never trail. Lexi McCullough drew a one-out walk and continued to third base on Elly Lackey’s sacrifice bunt. McCullough scored on an errant throw trying to cut her down.
In the second inning, Kaycee Kincaid of the Knights led off with a deep double to center field. With one out, freshman Cloey Joynes plated Kincaid with a double to left center. Salem got on the board in the bottom of the third inning after freshman catcher Caitlin Wells hit a one-out single and stole second base. Marie Roop scored her with an RBI single.
Salem pushed across a run in the third inning but Kincaid’s lead-off home run in the sixth inning gave the Knights an insurance run, which was key as Spartan Cora Sparger walked and ultimately scored on a throwing error. Knights pitcher Austyn Moran finished strong in the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning, including two strikeouts.
Moran (2-0) scattered seven hits and struck out six and walked three in the complete game performance. McCullough was the catalyst for River on offense with a single, double, triple, and a walk, and two runs scored. Kincaid had two huge hits, as well, with her double in the second and her sixth inning solo home run, and she also scored two runs. Kaycee also threw out two of three Spartan base stealers.
On Saturday against Fleming it was the Jenna Pugh show, as the junior outfielder slammed three home runs in a 19-0 rout of the Colonels. Pugh had a day to remember for the Knights with three home runs, a single, a walk, a stolen base, and six RBIs, going four for four. Pugh narrowly missed a home run, just foul, in her first at bat when she walked.
“Jenna Pugh certainly had a game that she will remember the rest of her life,” said River coach Steve Austin.
The Knights banged out 18 hits and were the recipients of eight walks and a hit batter. McCullough had three hits and two runs scored. Senior Karlee Eubank had three hits and four runs scored, and Elly Lackey and Austyn Moran each had two hits. Moran (3-0) pitched all five innings, allowing two hits while striking out six and walking one.
River also played host to Rockbridge County last week and took a 9-0 opening day win. Moran allowed only two hits and five base runners in the win. She struck out five batters and walked three and threw only 85 pitches for the game. The Knights did not commit an error in the field.
“It was a good opening game for us,” said Austin. “Good pitching, good defense, and good hitting. We hit the ball pretty much where it was pitched and used the whole field.”