James River scored two runs in the second inning and that’s all senior pitcher Ainsley Simmons needed as she scattered seven hits in the Knights’ 5-1 victory at Carroll County on Memorial Day. Simmons made it a memorable day with seven strikeouts and only one walk in her 93-pitch complete game.
“Ainsley pitched well and we just found a way to win,” said River coach Steve Austin. “We played a lot of small ball and we were rewarded for doing so.”
Cavalier clean-up hitter Lauren Alley hit a solo home run to center field to lead off the sixth before Simmons rallied to strike out the next two hitters and get a grounder to third to end the threat. She ended the game with a three-up, three-down seventh.
James River got things started in the second inning when Lacey Lucado led off with a bunt single and Austyn Moran followed with a hard single to center. Lucado scored on an RBI grounder to second base by Kaycee Kincaid and Moran scored on a throwing error.
In the third inning, Jenna Pugh led off with a solid single to right center and stole second base. Elly Lackey put down a sacrifice bunt and Pugh scored on another throwing error.
After the Alley home run in the sixth inning, the Knights responded with a two-run seventh. Moran led off with her second single and was replaced by pinch runner Lizzie Garrett. Lexi McCullough then beat out a bunt. With one out, Karlee Eubank was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Senior Lauren Griffin fought off two, strike two pitches, before singling down the left field line to score Garrett and McCullough.
“After a 10-day layoff and a long bus ride to Hillsville, I expected a tussle and that is what we got,” said Austin. “Credit to our kids for coming away with the victory.”
With their sixth straight win River improved to 6-3 overall and 6-2 in the Three Rivers District. The girls will have a rematch with Carroll on Thursday, this time at home, and play at Radford next Monday, June 7.