By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
ABINGDON, Va. —
A rebuilding season for the Richlands Blue Tornado softball team came to a close Saturday afternoon as the Lady Blues fell 5-0 to the Carroll County Cavaliers in the Southwest District consolation game at Abingdon High School. With the win Carroll County advances to regional play later this week.
“We hit a lot of balls at them and we didn’t get the key hit to get runs in early and give us a chance,” said Richlands head coach Ronnie Davis. “We didn’t get a lot of bunts down to move runners and Carroll did that. They got the key hits when they got runners in scoring position. We did hit the ball a little better than we did the last time against them, we just didn’t get the runs in.”
Richlands threatened to score the game’s initial run in the top of the second. Keisha Lynch, the lone senior on the Lady Blues’ team, hit a one-out single to left and Bethany Mullins rapped a two-out double to left to put runners on second and third before Carroll County pitcher Gracie Davidson got Bethany Mullins to fly to center for the third out.
The Cavaliers did touch home in their half of the second. Tiffany Moore reached on an error, Cheyenne Strickland singled and Davidson reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Moore scored on Estacia Smith’s ground out and Strickland touched the plate on Katelyn Farmer’s ground out to make it 2-0.
The Lady Blues threatened again in the fourth. Savannah Barber singled to left, went to second on Autumn Lamie’s sac bunt and took third on Lynch’s ground out, but Jordan Osborne popped out to short to end the inning.
Carroll County plated another run in the fifth, Strickland bringing the run home with a sacrifice fly to right to make it 3-0.
Richlands again mounted a rally in the sixth. Richardson, assisting her own cause, opened with a single up the middle. Barber picked up her second hit, a single to center, that put runners on first and second with one out. Defense then took center stage as Carroll County turned a 6-4-3 double play to extinguish yet another Blue Tornado threat.
The Cavaliers scored their final two runs in the bottom of the sixth with their own two-out rally. Farmer got aboard thanks to an infield single and Eden Durnil walked, the only base on balls allowed in the game by Richardson.
Gracie Lindsey then brought both ladies home with a triple to right field to make it 5-0. Determined not to go down without a fight, the Lady Blues’ rallied in the top of the seventh. Osborne laced a one-out single to left, but Davidson got a fly out to left and game-ending ground ball.
Davidson picked up the win as she tossed a complete game shutout. She allowed six hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter.
Richardson suffered the loss. She pitched six innings, allowed five runs on eight hits, walked one and also struck out three.
“Katie did a good job,” Davis said. “She does a good job moving the ball and keeping you off stride with her change-up. They (Carroll County) got a few walks and a couple of hits and they advanced it.”
Strickland was 2-for-2 for Carroll County and Durnil also had two hits. Lindsey had two RBIs.
Barber led Richlands with two hits. Lynch, Mullins, Richard-son and Osborne also had safeties for the Lady Blues.
Richlands finished the season with a 6-16 record in what could be termed as a rebuilding year.
“We were a young team and we’ve got a bunch coming back,” Davis said. “We’re losing one senior (Lynch) and we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and next spring.
“I think we got better as the year went on. With a young team you’re going to be inconsistent. At times we played well and at other times we’d lose focus a little bit and not play as well. These girls worked as hard as they could. They gave everything that they had and things just didn’t fall.”
At Abingdon High School
Richlands………000 000 0 — 0 6 2
Carroll County....020 012 x — 5 8 0
Katie Richardson and Jordan Osborne. Gracie Davidson and Gracie Lindsey. WP-Davidson. LP-Richardson.