By Robert Edmonds - email@example.com
FRONT ROYAL -- A late surge wasn't enough for Warren County on Tuesday night when the Wildcats hosted Brentsville in softball action.
The Tigers jumped ahead early against Wildcats pitcher Nicole King and were able to shut down Warren County's constant threat to claim their first Evergreen District victory, 8-4.
Brentsville wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the first inning. Haley Lugiano started the game with a lead-off triple into the right-field corner to spark her team. Two batters later, Kayla Dost connected for a two-run home run into left field to give her team an early lead.
"She [Lugiano] had one heck of a game tonight, Tigers coach Amy Beard said. "She was definitely a spark for the rest of the team. When she led the game off with that triple, everyone felt that it spread through the whole lineup."
The Tigers added three more runs in the second against King when they were helped by a pair of Wildcats errors. After an infield error and a walk, Lugiano knocked an RBI single into right field. Lugiano scored when she was knocked in by a Jessica Murphy double to extend the lead to 5-0.
"I told my team that we cannot slow down," Beard said. "They [Warren} are the type of team that is not going to stop. Their girls are not going to sit down, and they didn't. They kept on fighting the whole night."
Warren County's offense managed to get base runners against Tigers pitcher Sydney Merril, but had little luck when it came to getting their runners home.
The Wildcats stranded runners in each of the first four innings and after falling behind by seven, finally were able to end the scoreless stretch in the fifth inning.
The Wildcats loaded the bases against Merril after an error and a pair of singles to start the inning. Connecting for her third hit of the night, Paige McLachlan drove in two runs with a double to right-center field. Two batters later, Warren County cut the deficit to 7-4 when Autumn Troxell hit a two-run single down the right-field line.
"Paige [McLachlin] had a great night," Wildcats coach Justin Stock said. "She was really sick today and was kind of forced into the lineup, and she came through with a 3-for-4 night and a big double."
Threatening with the tying run at the plate, Warren County hoped to continue the rally, but was unable to continue on when Merril struck out Kacie Stacks to end the inning.
Adding an insurance run in the sixth, the Tigers held on for the victory after forcing the Wildcats to strand 11 runners on base in the outing.
"When you leave 11 on base, it's always going to be tough to win," Stock said. "When you get that many opportunities, you have got to cash in for some runs. You have to give Brentsville credit. They hit the ball well and took advantage when they had their chances. In this district, you have to show up to play every night."