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Lady Pats come up short in bid for first win of season

March 12, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va.– The Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) softball team thought it might have its first win of the season Friday (Mar. 11), only to be left hanging by a thread in the end.

The Lady Patriots challenged South Suburban College (Ill.) over the course of two games at Martin Field but eventually fell in both, 5-4 in eight innings and 7-2. South Suburban entered the season as the No. 14 ranked team in NJCAA, Division II and passed through Martinsville on its way to a weekend tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Freshman Kayla Hailey had arguably her best performance of the season in the circle and yet it still wasn’t enough for PHCC to come away victorious. Hailey allowed five runs, three earned, struck out seven, walked one and scattered six hits over all eight innings. The big hit against her came on a two-run home run in extra innings by Samantha Stueber on an 0-2 pitch.

Stueber reached base all four times, scored three runs and was an all-around thorn in the side of the Patriots.

“Last weekend (Hailey) did the same thing in both games and that’s the reason she got the start (today). She showed up again and to be honest with you, she’s been lights out,” first-year PHCC coach Robbi Campbell said.

Hailey also was one of four players for the Patriots to finish with multi-hit games in Game 1. Freshman Abby Williams doubled twice and scored a run. Sophomore Hailey Williams added a double and run while No. 9 hitter, sophomore Chris Harris, helped turn the lineup over with a pair of hits and an RBI.

The Lady Pats tallied 11 hits but left 10 runners on base in Game 1. Campbell said his team did a good job creating run-scoring situations just couldn’t deliver the big hit needed to finish the inning.

“I think in two or three innings we had multiple runners on with one out or less and popped up or grounded out,” Campbell said. “We need to be able to hit behind runners instead of pulling balls down the line. We have to find that right pitch and drive it to the outfield or sacrifice. I think they understand that and really it’s the little things right now that matter.”

Tied at 1 through five innings, South Suburban took a 3-1 lead on the strength of a walk and a pair of PHCC errors as no hits were recorded in the inning. The Patriots got both back in the seventh, sending the game to extras. Hailey Williams opened the inning with a double, Abby Williams doubled two batters later and then tied the game on a Hailey RBI groundout to short.

PHCC then stranded the tying run in the eighth at second base.

In Game 2, the Patriots added seven more hits but were kept in check by the offspeed mix of freshman Mia Stevens. Stevens struck out two, walked none and recorded 10 ground ball outs to eight fly outs. PHCC left the bases loaded in the second, a runner on second in the third and a runner at third in each of the fourth and sixth innings.

Campbell said South Suburban played more small ball in the second game and manufactured runs by manipulating the base paths. Sophomore Krista Frazier battled into the sixth inning but was tagged for six runs over the third through sixth innings. Sophomore Maddy Gauldin entered in the sixth with no outs and pitched two scoreless innings, saying it was a big confidence boost for her in the circle. Campbell added that her performance will allow him to insert her more into similar situations when they occur later this season.

Abby Williams added another double offensively while Frazier posted another multi-hit game.

The Lady Patriots look to earn that elusive first win of the season when they host Wake Tech in a Region X doubleheader starting at noon Mar. 18.

Filed under: Softball

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