By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
Who needs batting practice?
With no warm-up swings in pre-game, Virginia High coolly ripped off a 10-1 non-district win on a raw, windy Friday afternoon over the Tazewell Lady Bulldogs. Tianna Macias ripped out three hits and Kelsey Nave hammered a home run to back the one-hit pitching of hard-throwing Bearcat pitcher Megan Thompson.
Bri Sparks spanked a line single to center in the bottom of the fourth inning for the only THS (5-8) safety of the day and later reached on an error in the sixth, advancing to second as part of Tazewell’s lone scoring play.
Singles by Macias and Bre Duff led to the opening run. Macias scored on a fielder’s choice roller by Thompson as VHS (8-4) opened a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
Macias’ next hit in the third, followed by her steal of second, led to a run when she was able to race home on Duff’s sacrifice fly to the left field fence. Courtney Oxford made a sliding catch but Macias never slowed down and beat the throw home. Nave then ripped a line shot homer over the wall in right center, making it 3-0 in favor of Virginia High.
A three-run fifth virtually settled the issue. Felicia Walsh and Duff singled, advanced on a wild pitch and then both scored on Nave’s hot shot 2-RBI single to center. Delaney Stone singled before Thompson grounded out to score Nave as Virginia High moved ahead 6-0.
“We didn’t get time for batting practice but it looked like we had worked for about two hours,” said Virginia High coach Barry Reed, a Graham grad is celebrating 30 years in high school athletics – noting that it was in the spring of 1983 when he was hired as head football coach at Pocahontas High School.
“We played well and hit the ball hard to back up some good pitching,” Reed noted, adding, “and even though Tazewell County is home, I can’t get used to how cold it is up here in April. Thank goodness it (weather) didn’t bother our ladies out there today.”
Kayla McCroskey walked in the bottom of the sixth for Tazewell, later scoring the only Lady Dog tally after Karlee Wasilewski’s sacrifice and the error which allowed Sparks to reach base. McCroskey’s run pulled THS to within 6-1 with one out in the inning but Thompson retired the next two hitters.
Virginia High scored four more runs in the seventh as Macias and Kelsey Nave ignited another rally. Stone singled in another run, Thompson added an RBI, and Lindsey Trotter drove in another in the flurry.
Tazewell went quietly in the bottom of the seventh as Thompson notched her eighth and ninth strikeouts. Virginia finished with 14 hits.
“That’s the first time in a while I’ve had three hits,” grinned Macias. “I just did what Coach (Reed) tells us – stay back and find a spot to hit the ball.”
Nave said of her four-bagger, “They had been pitching me inside so I finally got a ball out and just drove it. It felt good – a home run is always nice, especially when it helps us win.”
Sparks, who played center in place of her usual spot on the mound, reached base twice and got the lone THS hit.
She said, “Virginia High kept hitting the ball just out of the reach of our infield and they got some good swings. After I struck out on my first at-bat, I was determined not to let that happen again. In the field, I was trying to keep the ball in front of me and get it back in quick.”
Oxford and Santanna Miller had fine efforts defensively for Tazewell, as well. Both made sparkling catches during the contest.
“We ran into a good, hard-hitting team today,” said Bulldog coach Tom Keene. “We have to focus and get better.”
At Tazewell High School
Virginia...........................102 030 4 — 10 14 2
Tazewell..........................000 001 0 — 1 2 2
Thompson and Macias. Hart and Bradshaw.
HR – VHS, K. Nave.