FIRST SETBACK: Southside suffers first conference loss
Published 11:22 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2016
CHOCOWINITY — Pamlico County bunched together runs early on — four in the first and five in the third — en route to a win over a rusty Southside group. The Lady Seahawks had practiced twice and got in three innings before a mercy-rule win over Kinston on Monday, but still seemed to be missing a step after the spring break layoff.
The Lady ‘Canes got four runs in the top of the first before Southside pitcher Alyssa McLawhorn bounced back by retiring consecutive batters to escape the inning.
The offense didn’t carry the momentum over to the bottom of the frame as Symone Ruffin led off with a groundout and Pamlico County pitcher Morgan Swindell fanned Hannah Paramore. With two outs, Danielle Ruffin and Taylor Langley drew walks and Maggie Craig got hit by a pitch to load the bases.
The Lady Seahawks left the chance to put a dent in their deficit on the table when McLawhorn grounded out to second to leave all three runners on base.
“We had runners on base — the bases were loaded — and we left them stranded there,” coach Milton Ruffin said. “I know we left a lot of runners on base tonight. It would have made the difference in the ball game if we were able to put the bat on the ball.”
The visitors went three up, three down in the second. Southside only sent four to the plate in the bottom of the second thanks to a pair of strikeouts by Swindell. The Lady Seahawks set down the first two batters in the top of the third, but Pamlico County bunched together five hits and an error in centerfield allowed them to tack on five two-out runs. Kandise Stembridge and Faith Poole knocked shots up the middle to bat in four of their team’s five runs in the frame.
Southside’s offense showed signs of life in the bottom of the third when Paramore led off with a single over the opposing second baseman and into shallow center. She stole second and moved to third on Craig’s base hit, setting her up to easily score on an error.
McLawhorn’s sac-bunt RBI pushed Craig across to cut the deficit to 9-2. Leaving runners on continued to be a problem as Southside, again, stranded a pair in scoring position.
The Lady Seahawks retired Pamlico County in order in the fourth and fifth innings. As the defense kept the game in reach, the offense tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. McLawhorn pushed Craig across for the second time and Gloria Valdez scored on Alexis Preece’s base hit through the right side.
Pamlico County squeaked out a run in the sixth to make it 10-4, but Southside escaped the inning relatively unscathed by throwing out two Lady ‘Canes at third base.
Criag scored her third run of the game in the bottom of the seventh via a throwing error by Pamlico County’s catcher. It was all the Lady Seahawks would get, though. The loss is a minor setback in their 1-A Coastal Plains Conference campaign as they fall to 3-1.