In a game 180 degrees different from the slugfest on March 29 in Springwood, James River lost a 3-1 pitchers’ duel to Parry McCluer Monday in Buena Vista.

The Knights started off well. One out after a lead off walk by Cameron Hildebrand in the top of the first, Lacey Lucado ripped a double to left center to plate Hildebrand with but that was to be the Knights’ only run of the game.

James River pitcher Ainsley Simmons had a rocky start, giving up three consecutive hits to start the bottom of the first, but she stiffened and only allowed one run. Further, she only allowed two additional hits in the final five innings that she pitched, although one was a solo homer in the third inning by Grayson Shields, which was the eventual game winning run. Simmons gave up five hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Two of the runs were earned.

Aly McCullough’s bunt single in the third and Evie Melvin’s single to left to lead off the seventh were the only other James River hits off of Blues’ pitcher Rheanna Lawhorn. Chloe Persinger pitched a scoreless seventh after Melvin’s hit to get the save.

“We played a solid road game against a good team with our pitching and defense good enough to win, but our bats let us down– and that is becoming a recurring theme,” said River coach Steve Austin.

The Knights once again fell one game under .500 with the loss at 4-5. River was scheduled to play at Carroll County on Tuesday, and Friday the Knights are at Parry McCluer.

“We are nine games into the season and we have yet to play up to what should be our potential,” said Austin. “That is my fault and no one else’s. I won’t quit working at us improving and neither will our team”.