By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
It wasn’t the homecoming the Lady Lions would have liked, but at least they were on friendly turf.
“It has been a while,” Concord softball coach Alisa Tasler said. “We are glad to be home.”
After 31 straight games on the road, an the Lady Lions finally got to play their home opener, but Alderson-Broaddus put a damper on the festivities, sweeping a doubleheader from Concord 7-4 and 12-1 on a sunny Saturday afternoon on the diamond adjacent to Callaghan Stadium.
Concord (14-19, 2-6) will return to their home field today for a twinbill with Fairmont State at 1 p.m.
“They just out-hit us,” Concord senior Becca Gleason said. “We just have to stay focused against Fairmont tomorrow and hit a little bit better hopefully.”
Alderson-Broaddus (12-11, 3-1) scored five runs in the sixth inning in the opener, and then did Bodily harm to the Lions in the nightcap, with Vanessa Bodily allowing just four hits, while the Battlers collected 13 hits of their own, while scoring four runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings.
“It is nice, they played with a lot of energy today,” Alderson-Broaddus head coach Shawn Bowers said. “They played hard, they swung the bats well, played well defensively, I am very happy with what they did today.”
Concord rallied from a 2-0 first inning deficit in the opener, scoring two in the third and took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on a RBI single by Lacey McDougall off Hannah Whitney, who replaced winning pitcher Ali Neace prior to that frame.
The Lady Lions out-hit the Battlers 9-4, led by two hits and two runs, including a home run by Jessica Seymour, and two hits from McDougall.
However, Alderson-Broaddus answered in the sixth, taking advantage of two errors and three hits to produce five runs, including a two-run single by Adrienne Daniels.
“It was (competitive) for a while, it was nip and tuck back and forth,” said Bowers, whose Battlers will visit Bluefield State today. “It was a great game to coach in and we just happened to break it open there with a couple of runs and get the victory.”
It was all Battlers in the nightcap, with the first two batters reaching base on throwing errors, which would lead to one of three four-run innings for Alderson-Broaddus.
“It started us out in a bad way and once you give them a four-spot it is hard to recover,” Tasler said. “We just didn’t do the things we needed to today.”
Regan Drake, who had four singles and two RBIs in the game, followed with a single for the Battlers and a second run scored on a diving catch of a Bodily line by left fielder Kristi Benvenuto.
That was followed by the potent bat of Kharrisa Renoth, who blasted a long drive to the center field, winding up with a triple when Seymour crashed into the fence in pursuit and had to be helped off the field, and was on crutches after the game.
That was not a good sign for Concord, which has a small roster that can’t afford to lose anyone for anything.
“She is questionable tomorrow, but we are still hopeful though,” Tasler said “We have 11 players on our roster, we have got to have everybody.”
After a lengthy delay with Gleason moving from shortstop to center field, Whitney hit a sacrifice fly for the 4-0 lead.
A position change is nothing new to Gleason.
“I am used to it,” Gleason said. “I played outfield my freshman year, first my sophomore (year), catcher my junior (year) and now I am at short, wherever they need me I am going.”
Concord’s lone run came with two outs in the first when Alyssa Morris hit her sixth home run of the season, a tape-measure shot over the left field fence. That was all the Lions would get off Bodily, who allowed four hits, struck out five and walked none.
“Pitching-wise, they mixed it up a lot, fastballs, changeups, inside and out, they mixed it up really well,” Gleason said. “It kept us off-balanced and we couldn’t catch up to it, we just have to hit a little bit better tomorrow.”
The Battlers added four more runs in the fourth, keyed by an RBI double from Jennifer Francis and a two-run single by Daniels. It was more of the same in the fifth, with Renoth, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., clubbing an opposite field home run over the right field fence to go with the earlier triple.
“She had a great game in that second game,” Bowers said. “We talk all the time about going the opposite way and it just happened to carry over the fence so you have got to love that.”
“She got ahold of us today,” added Tasler. “We had a tough day in the circle and they hit the ball very well.”
Concord is working toward a fourth straight season with at least 20 wins, which is a vast improvement over the three previous years from 2007-09 when the Lions won a combined nine games.
“We are working in the right direction, we are not where we want to be yet, but we are definitely working in the right direction,” said Tasler, who took over as Concord softball coach in January of 2012. “Although we didn’t look like it today, we are actually sitting on top of the board in the conference as far as batting average.”
“We have come a long ways...,” added Gleason. “We are getting there, I am proud of everybody.”
Both coach and player feel confident that Concord will continue to improve and be ready to play good softball when the WVIAC tournament rolls around in early May in Vienna.
“Absolutely, we are going to work out the kinks and get back to where we need to be,” Tasler said.
“We will be all right, we will make it to the tournament,” added Gleason. “We have just got to win, keep playing hard and keeping our heads up so I think we will be all right.”
—Contact Brian Woodson
Alderson-Broaddus.........200 005 0 — 7 4 1
Concord............................002 100 1 — 4 9 4
Ali Neace, Hannah Whitney (4) and Emily Morton. Lacey McDougall, Rachael Mack (6) and Alyssa Morris. W—Neace; L—McDougall. HR—Jessica Seymour (CU).
Alderson-Broaddus.........400 44 — 12 13 0
Concord...........................100 00 — 1 4 2
Vanessa Bodily and Elizabeth Scritchfield. Rachael Mack, Stephanie Harper (4) and Alyssa Morris. W—Bodily; L—Mack. HR—Alyssa Morris (CU), Kharrisa Renoth (AB).