The James River girls will play at Fort Chiswell on Thursday to open the Region 2C softball tournament.

River is the fifth seed with a 10-9 overall record while Fort Chiswell is the fourth seed. If the Knights prevail on Thursday they would play at Glenvar on Memorial Day at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinal round.

The Knights ended the regular season on a winning note, defeating Carroll County in the regular season finale in Springwood last Friday. River scored three runs on four hits in the first inning, then rode the shutout pitching of Ainsley Simmons to a 7-0 victory. Simmons allowed only three hits, with one strikeout and one walk.

Cameron Hildebrand, Lacey Lucado, and Evie Melvin all had singles and Erin Peery a double in the big first inning. Lucado, Peery, and Josey Lackey had RBIs.

The Knights tacked on four insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Simmons got a one out single then stole second base. Pinch hitter Payton Kreklow drew a walk before Aly McCullough singled off of the shortstops glove to plate Simmons. Hildebrand followed with a two run double to right center before Lakota Lucado scored her with a single to left.

“Once again we put hitting, pitching, and defense together,” said River coach Steve Austin. “Like any other team, that’s when we are at our best. It was good to bounce back after the tough seventh inning at Floyd on Wednesday. We put that behind us and did our jobs.”

River let a 5-2 lead slip away as Floyd scored four times in the seventh inning to take a 6-5 win over the Knights in Floyd last Wednesday. Simmons was the hard luck losing pitcher for the Knights. Though she gave up 12 hits, seven came in the last two innings, as did two of her three walks, as she began to tire.

James River got nine hits off of Floyd ace Olivia Yates, including two each by Lacey and Lakota Lucado. Evie Melvin had a home run while Cameron Hildebrand, Ainsley Simmons, Madison Brogan, and Aly McCullough had singles.

“It was a really tough loss for our team,” said Austin. “Losing a game we controlled for six innings on the road against a team at the top of our district takes the wind out of your sails.”

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