Skyline falls to Monroe in softball

FRONT ROYAL — Skyline softball coach Frank Nelson knows there is more to his sport than merely pitching, catching and fielding.

“There’s thinking, too,” said the veteran coach Monday after his Hawks lost 7-4 decision to Conference 28 rival William Monroe.

Nelson was concerned about the 11 runners the Hawks had left on base against the conference rivals, and instructed that in the future, he hopes several of the girls look over a few more pitches than some of them did on their home diamond.

William Monroe (4-3) made two key late-game defensive stops which focused on home plate, and even though Dragons coach Greg Breeden said he missed both — trying to accomplish other strategy — he was not surprised that his catcher, Lindsey Morris, was involved with both of them.

“She’s a senior and a leader and you learn to expect plays like that,” said Breeden.

“It’s fun to be the catcher because you’re right in the middle of things,” said Morris after the game. “On those two plays, I was right there. It was exciting.”

William Monroe scored the game’s first two runs almost as soon as they got off the bus from Greene County, but in the home half of the same inning, the Hawks’ bats got hot.

Jessica Sims led off by getting on base via an infield error. Corinna Colton followed with a bunt, then both stole bases. With teammates on second and third, Makaela Dawkins (2-for-4, one run scored) reached base on another error to send Sims home. Then Tori Jo Brown sacrificed Colton home, and then Dawkins scored later. It was 3-2 Hawks.

The Dragons scratched out a run in the fourth to tie it at 3. Leanna Lamb opened with a single to center, but gave way to pinch-runner Makala Thomas. Teammate Hannah Carpenter moved Thomas to second with a sacrifice, and then the latter came home on a Jordan Shortridge RBI single.

Skyline pitcher Carrie Robinson was heating up by this time and had set down nine Dragons on strikes in the third-through-fifth innings. However, William Monroe added two runs in the top of the fifth. Cheyenne Morris led off with a walk and then McKayla Morris (2-for-4, two runs scored, three batted in) slapped a double past second to put two Dragons aboard. Leanna Lamb brought them both home with a double.

In the bottom of the inning, Skyline got three aboard, but a play by third baseman Alexis Wayland going home with a throw which catcher Lindsey Morris used to tag out a Hawk ended the threat.

The Hawks picked up a run to make it 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth. Robinson singled over shortstop, then moved to second on a passed ball. Sims drove her in with a single over second base.

But William Monroe put two across in the top of the seventh to ice the game. McKenzie Flora walked and moved to second on Cheyenne Morris’ single. McKayla Morris drove them both in with a double.

Skyline had the bases loaded in the seventh but failed to score when shortstop McKayla Morris pegged a throw to Lindsey Morris to nab a run for the second out. Flora struck out the final Skyline batter of the night.

Flora and Robinson each completed games for their respective teams. Each gave up seven hits.

Flora got the win. She struck out eight and walked just one. Robinson struck out 12, but walked five.

“Carrie is our only pitcher. It’s not like it’s been in the past when we had more than one,” Nelson said. “She can get tired, but she was sharp tonight.”