By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
STEPHENS CITY -- Katie Seymour knows how tough it is to hit James Wood pitcher Kierstyn Peacoe. The Sherando junior knew she needed to jump on the first pitch.
Seymour did just that and it paid off for several big hits to help the Warriors knock off the Colonels 3-1 in Northwestern District softball action Tuesday. The loss drops the Colonels into a first-place tie in the district with Skyline.
"I knew she likes to throw a lot of first-pitch strikes, so I just wanted to be ready for it," Seymour said.
In the bottom of the fourth, Seymour led off with a double off Peacoe. One out later, Haley Mills RBI single scored Seymour to give the Warriors a 2-0 edge.
In the top of the fifth, the Colonels responded. Amanda Higgins led off with a single off Sherando's Courtney Reid. Deanna Madagan and Megan Christian each drew a walk to load the bases with no outs.
Morgan Sykes hit into a fielder's choice, which scored Higgins to cut the lead to 2-1. Reid then struck out Haley Whitacre and Rachel Largent lined out to second to end the inning.
"I knew I just had to make my pitches," Reid said of the inning. "I just tried to pitch to [catcher] Haley's [Mills] glove. I just had to throw strikes and trust my defense."
In the top of the sixth, Reid's defense came up big behind her. James Wood started the inning off strong again. Peacoe led off with a single, and Charlotte Viands followed with a double down the right-field line. Whitney Dick followed with what looked to be a sure hit into center field, but Sherando's Megan Leake made a diving catch. Leake alertly threw to second to try to get Viands, but the throw was not in time. However, the Warriors then threw to third, and the umpire called Peacoe out. Peacoe had scored on the play, but the umpire ruled that she did not tag third before going home.
"That was a huge double play," Sherando coach Clarence Smith said. "Megan Leake made a great catch in center field. That's what we've come to expect from her."
James Wood coach Ted McDaniel said that he thought that Peacoe tagged up, but it didn't affect the outcome of the game.
"We should have never been in that situation to begin with," McDaniel said.
Reid then struck out Amanda Higgins to end the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Seymour added an insurance run. The junior drilled a first pitch to the right-field fence for an inside-the-park homer and a 3-1 lead.
"I really just wanted to get a hit to help my team out," Seymour said.
The Colonels (4-6, 3-1 Northwestern) threatened one last time in the top of the seventh. Madagan reached on an error, and Christian followed with a single. Reid struck out Sykes, and got Whitacre and Largent to groundout to end the game.
James Wood scattered six hits throughout the game, and couldn't drive in runs when it needed to.
"We were not focused today and that's what we get," McDaniel said. "I don't know what the problem was. We just had no energy. We didn't come ready to play."
Sherando starter Kennedy Rothemich suffered a shin injury in the first inning and didn't return, but her replacement freshman Michaela Carper had a single and drew a walk. The Warriors (6-4, 2-3) had only five hits off Peacoe, who struck out 12.
The Warriors started the season off slowly, but have now won two district games in a row and are showing that can still be a contender in the district.
"James Wood is a good team, they were undefeated in the district," Reid said. "It was nice to be able to come back and get a win against them after losing to them last time. It's a good win."