Botetourt’s Hannah Mundy watches as she hits doulbe into left field against James River.
Photo by Ed McCoy

James River won an intra-county softball game last Friday, taking a 3-2 win over Lord Botetourt, and the two could possibly play again this weekend. Both teams are involved in the annual “Botetourt Bash” softball tournament at the Botetourt Sports Complex.

The “Bash” will feature 10 teams. Craig County and Galax will open the action at 6 p.m. Friday on Ken Myers Field at the Botetourt Sports Complex. The four 8 p.m. games will match Lord Botetourt against Riverheads, James River against Liberty, Northside against Tazewell and Greenbrier East against Holston.

On Saturday, Craig will play Holston at 9 a.m., and four games are scheduled for 11 a.m., James River against Galax, Lord Botetourt against Tazewell, Northside against Riverheads and Greenbrier East against Liberty. Teams will be seeded after that for 1:30 p.m. games to determine first through eighth place, and depending how they line up LB could meet River again.

There will also be some jayvee games. On Friday, River will play Tazewell on Field 1 while LB and Riverheads play on Field 2, both at 6 p.m. On Saturday at 9 a.m. River and Franklin County are on Field 1 and Craig County and LB jayvees play on Field 2.

Last Friday in Springwood River made three early runs hold up as the Knights edged Lord Botetourt, 3-2. Olivia Simmons scattered six hits and struck out 13 hitters as she out dueled the Cavalier freshman duo of Maia Folk and Meredith Wells. Folk pitched three innings, allowing three runs, of which only one was earned. She struck out four and walked two. Wells pitched three scoreless innings with two strikeouts, allowing just one hit.

The visitors struck quickly with a two-out run in the top of the first inning. After Simmons retired the first two batters, Kaitlyn Deeter doubled down the third base line and Hannah Mundy dinked a looping double to left field on a 1-2 pitch, scoring Deeter.

In the bottom of the first the Knights caught up in a hurry. After Cameron Hildebrand worked a six-pitch walk, Lakota Lucado sacrificed her to second base. Simmons then lashed an 0-2 pitch up the left center gap for a double to tie the score.

To begin the bottom of the third inning, Rachel Kickuth bunted and reached on a throwing error. With one out, Kickuth stole second base. Lucado then had an epic 15-pitch at bat, fouling off 11 pitches before earning a walk. Simmons moved both runners up with a swinging bunt before Sydney Gordon knocked in both runs with a line drive single to center field.

“I have coached a long time and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more determined at bat than Lucado had in the third inning,” said River coach Steve Austin. “Fifteen pitches and it seemed like it lasted 10 minutes. I am sure that was the first turning point in the game when she eventually worked the walk.”

Lucado and Gordon figured prominently in limiting Lord Botetourt’s rally in the fifth inning. After a one-out walk to Folk, Emma Layman singled to right moving Folk to third base. Layman then stole second base putting two runners in scoring position. Deeter hit an 0-2 pitch to left field scoring Folk but a Lucado to Gordon to Josey Lackey relay nipped Layman at the plate to keep the Knights in the lead.

Simmons retired the first two batters in the seventh inning before Mary-Hannah Jackson singled down the third base line during a seven-pitch at bat before Folk struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

The Knights made the most of three hits and two walks and two Lord Botetourt errors to earn their first win of the season. Simmons had two hits to lead the Knights. Deeter and Mundy had two hits apiece for Botetourt. The Knights are 1-0 with two other games needing to be completed. The Cavaliers fell to 1-1 with the loss.

“I’m happy that our kids could do just enough and find away to beat a very good team that we have a lot of respect for,” said Austin. “If we were going to have any chance to win, it was going to be this kind of low scoring game.”

River also played at Riverheads last week in a game that was called at 3-3 with two outs in the bottom of the 10th. The Knights were one strike away from securing victory when Carmon Bradley served a 1-2 pitch to right field to score Samantha Persinger with the tying run.

“This match up was agreed upon just a couple of weeks ago when it was determined that Martinsville would not field a team and James River had the opening,” said Austin. “Riverheads was looking for a game. A decision will be made later in the season as to whether the contest can be completed.”

On Tuesday the Knights were scheduled to host two-time defending Group 1A state champ Parry McCluer, but that game was rained out. On Thursday Radford is here.

LB has a busy week. The Cavs were home to Northside Tuesday and will host Fleming on Thursday before the “Bash” games on Friday and Saturday. Both county teams will play five games in five days this week.

The Botetourt girls won their season opener against Salem last week, 10-6, when Deeter hit a two-out grand slam home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to break open a 6-6 tie.

“I was excited to see a senior step up,” said coach Cheryl Shockley. “And she hit it off a good pitcher (George Mason-bound Haellie Gordon).”

Meredith Wells got the win for LB in relief of Lauren Hoffman. Deeter and Mary-Hannah Jackson had two hits each and Emma Layman had an inside-the-park home run for LB.

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