Softball NEWS

Lady Pats continue to make strides in wake of weekend setback

March 27, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Coming off a series of wins in a row last weekend — the first of the season — Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) softball coach Robbi Campbell hoped for a continuation this weekend against Lakeland Community College (Ohio) and Richard Bland College.

In some aspects, Campbell saw what he was looking for, just not the winning results to back it up.

The Lady Patriots played three good games of four over Friday (Mar. 25) and Saturday (Mar. 26) only to leave empty handed. PHCC lost 4-2 and 14-0 to Lakeland before being stung in Petersburg, Va. with a pair of 3-2 losses to Richard Bland. However, looking beyond the box score Campbell said he was pleased with the effort and continued progress his team has shown over the last few weeks.

“We played some very good ball games, and I know we lost, but I’m very satisfied with the effort my girls gave,” Campbell said. “Richard Bland has a great program and we went toe to toe with them, just fell a little short.”

PHCC allowed a 2-0 lead slip away late in Game 1 Saturday and nearly came back from 3-0 down in Game 2, leaving the tying run at third base in the seventh inning. Lakeland pitching kept the Patriots offense at bay, allowing just five hits over the two games.

Sophomore Hailey Williams had a perfect 4-for-4 day in Game 1 Saturday and finished the four games with six hits. Sophomore Krista Frazier had a pair of hits Friday while sophomore Maddy Gauldin went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the opener Saturday.

“I feel right now that we can play with anyone in this conference. I think by season’s end we’ll be right at the top (for the conference tournament), not a 6 seed like we were last year,” Campbell said. “Also, the biggest factor is teams will know what to expect when they play us and know we won’t be a pushover. They’ll know that they will have to play ball when they see us.”

While Campbell continues to demand better defensive play, he’s been relieved with the maturation freshman Kayla Hailey has developed in the circle. Hailey pitched both games Saturday and if not for a tying two-run home run in the sixth of Game 1, very easily could’ve earned the win. She pitched good enough to win Game 2 but couldn’t get the offensive support she received the week prior against Wake Tech and Southeastern C.C.

The development of Hailey and batterymate Krista Frazier help set the defense and provide easier plays in the field, Campbell said. The hitting took a bit of a dip over the last four games, but Campbell said he expects the lull to not last long.

Over the next few weeks, PHCC has the opportunity to rattle off several conference games in a row, and according to Campbell it’s not a matter of if but how many.

“I wanted to be tested and people said why did I (arrange the schedule) the way I did with a team that was just put together. Next year we might test ourselves a little more and go a little deeper,” Campbell said. “The better teams you play, the better you get, so that when you get into conference you’ll benefit. The pitching we saw at the beginning of the season won’t nearly be as good during conference games.”

The Lady Pats welcome Richard Bland to Martin Field on Friday (Apr. 1) looking to return the favor.

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