Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

April 11, 2014

Panthers pull away from Raiders

GARDNER — With a couple of standout players injured, and their head coach on the other end of the county, the PikeView High School softball team still proved it had what it takes to pull out a 10-2 win over River View on Friday afternoon in Gardner.

The Panthers waited until the fourth inning to get into high gear, and then closed it out by the 10-run rule in the following frame.

“The first couple of innings, we were playing a little sluggish,” said PikeView assistant coach Jason Matney, who was in charge on Friday. “I talked to my seniors, especially Sam Meadows, our pitcher. I told her, ‘Senior leadership. Get this thing started. It’s all up to you.’ And boy, she did!”

Meadows was the first PikeView batter in the fourth inning. She drove the second pitch she saw for a double to left-center, and scored on a face-first slide when the next batter, Audrey Higgins, smacked an RBI hit. That tied the game 1-1, but not for long.

Brooke Baker singled up the middle on the first pitch sent her way, bringing Higgins home to give PikeView the lead for good.

The hitting streak eventually reached five straight batters. That was followed by the Raiders’ first error, putting another PikeView batter aboard. The next five batters drew bases on balls — three of which generated RBIs because each occurred with the bases loaded.

“We got a late start, but the team always pulls through for us,” Meadows said. “You can always count on the girls.”

Dalton said, “I knew we were going to get the runs in. We picked each other up and got it going.”

River View sophomore pitcher Rebeckah Christian had things under control in the first three innings, ringing up three strikeouts and allowing two base runners on 37 pitches. In the fourth, she threw 43 pitches and was tagged for nine runs.

River View assistant coach Bobby Barker said, “She (Christian) was still going good. She had a couple of errors that should have got her out of the inning (then) she kind of fell apart a little bit.” He categorized the Raiders’ defensive miscues as “simple mistakes.”

“She started getting a little tired, too. She threw too many pitches in that inning.”

Kiersten Dority replaced Christian in the circle, and allowed no hits and three walks the rest of the way.

PikeView’s Ericka Dalton drew one of those bases on balls, stole second, got to third on an infield out, and dashed home via an error for the 10th run to wrap up the game.

Dority had given River View a 1-0 lead in the second. She singled, stole second and third, and reached home plate on a passed ball. In the fourth, she singled and stole two bases again before being stranded.

Barker said, “She’s excellent in center field. She’s hitting the ball pretty good. ... She (did) pretty good when she came in to pitch. She’s pretty solid.”

Dority said, “I felt pretty confident, because yesterday, I had a pretty decent batting game. I came over here with a little more confidence to hit the ball,” she said. “I was ready for it.”

Barker said, “We had a bunch of people who just wasn’t here today ... mentally they weren’t here, is what I’m talking about. They didn’t come to play. ... It’s something that very rarely happens.”

PikeView had some players who couldn’t play and a coach who wasn’t able to coach.

Pitcher Haleigh Compton and center fielder Lyndsay Hatfield were out with injuries. Head coach Steve Compton, the JROTC instructor at PikeView, had to be present at a “military ball” Friday evening at Brushfork Armory for all JROTC students from Mercer County.

Meadows said about the absence of her two teammates, “That makes it hard, when you have to change the lineup every day, but we try to keep ourselves together — for those girls as well, to show them that, hey, it’s OK, get better. We’ve got your back.”

Matney said about Meadows, “She did a great job — and I’ve got to credit our defense, too. They really backed her up. A lot of River View’s hits were just good, solid hits. We played a good, clean ballgame.”

River View senior Ellamae Johnson kept battling after the count went 0-2 in the fifth, banging a single to right that scored Destenie Clevinger for the Raiders’ last run.

Meadows gave up six singles and one walk, with three strikeouts. In one stretch, her fielders made seven straight outs to back her up.

“The girls are always ready and willing to help out the pitcher and the catcher, because they know how hard we’re working,” she said.

Dalton said about Meadows, “She’s an awesome pitcher.”

Dalton was 2 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and two stolen bases. Meadows was walked three times in addition to her double in the fourth.

Dority said, “It’s always nerve-wracking coming over here, but we’ve stepped up a lot here lately. At the beginning, our team lacked the ability to field and bat.”

She added that her team is improving. “We’ve known each other since middle school. We work well together. I’m enjoying it,” she said.

PikeView will play on Wednesday at Summers County. River View will travel a long way west today to play at East Ridge, Ky.

“Hopefully, we can do better tomorrow,” Barker said. “East Ridge is just about equal to PikeView. If we can get away from that one bad inning, we’ll be all right.”

— Contact Tom Bone at

tbone@bdtonline.com

At PikeView High School

River View.......................010   01  —    2  6  2

PikeView.........................000   91  —  10  7  1

Rebeckah Christian, Kiersten Dority (4) and Kaitlyn Dobbs. Samantha Meadows and Kristen Brinkley. WP - Meadows. LP - Christian.

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