Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 3, 2014

Honaker squeaks by J.I. Burton in softball

HONAKER, Va. — A couple of young and talented teams squared off in the quarterfinals of the 1A West softball tournament at Honaker Elementary School on Monday. Score one for tradition.

Defending state champion Honaker narrowly defeated J.I. Burton 2-1 to advance to semifinal play today.

It looked bleak for the Lady Tigers going to the fourth inning, trailing 1-0. J.I. Burton (13-11) starting pitcher Tiffany Cole retired the first seven batters she faced, before Montanna Compton had the first hit of the game for Honaker (14-4) in the third inning.

“I was very worried when we got down early,” Honaker’s Briana Adkins said. “But I knew we could come back.”

The fourth inning started with Amanda Vandyke reaching on an error. After a flyout, Megan Ray ripped a double for the Lady Tigers to score Vandyke tying the game 1-1.

“I just knew we needed a big hit,” Ray said. “I also knew it was win or go home. I didn’t want to go home, so I got up to the plate ready to hit the ball.”

With Ray the go-ahead run on second, Madison Miller lined sharply but Lady Raider first baseman Leia Scalf snagged it for the second out.

Ray then stole third, sliding in under the tag. Adkins, only a freshman, drove a 1-1 pitch to deep left for a RBI double, plating Ray with what proved to be the winning run.

“I just knew I had to stay down and drive the ball,” Adkins said. “I was able to turn on the ball. There was a lot of pressure before we scored the first run, but after that I was able to relax and hit the ball.”

The Lady Raiders took the lead when Jaz Bay opened the second inning, driving a 0-1 pitch across the fence in left-center for a solo home run off Honaker pitcher Alyssa Dye.

“When she hit it, I knew it was gone and that wasn’t good,” remarked Dye. “I knew I had to keep pitching my game and my defense had me.

“My nerves were going crazy and really after that homer, I settled down and pitched better.”

Burton didn’t mount a serious threat until the seventh. Bay popped out to Dye for the first out. Scalf then walked and Collen Gilliam singled to right to put runners at first and third with one away.

Dye then induced a lineout to shortstop and Leah Elswick fired a strike to first to end the contest in style with a double play.

“My team had my back,” Dye said. “They always do.”

Dye was more than solid in the circle. She only allowed the one run and scattered five hits, finishing with seven strikeouts. Dye faced 25 batters and threw 17 first-pitch strikes.

“After the home run, Dye knew she had to adjust,” Honaker coach Amy Davidson said. “She has come through for us this season and been strong mentally. Most freshmen would kind of drop their head, but she seems to get stronger. Dye knew she had to hit her spots.”

Although the Lady Tigers only had three hits, they definitely put the ball in play. They only had one strikeout in the game — not bad for a team starting three freshmen and four sophomores. They also played errorless softball defensively.

“They put a couple of hits together that one inning and jumped up on us,” J.I. Burton coach Jim Holdway said. “We just never could recover from it. But I’m proud of this group of girls, from the beginning to now, it’s been a 360 turnaround.”

The semifinals are at Honaker today. The Lady Tigers face Auburn at 5 p.m. Eastside will take on Chil-howie at approximately 7 p.m.


At Honaker Elementary School

J.I. Burton.......010   000   0  —  1  5  1

Honaker..........000   200   x  —  2  3  0

Cole and Yates. Dye and Hughes. WP—Dye (10-3). LP—Cole (12-10). HR—Bay (JIB), 2nd, none on.

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