Stingy Buffalo Gap stops Stonewall Jackson

QUICKSBURG — Buffalo Gap softball pitchers Katy Simmons and Courtney Back combined for a one-hitter in an innings-shortened Shenandoah District tussle Tuesday to lead the visiting Bison to a 12-0 shutout of Stonewall Jackson.

The Bison (11-1 Shenandoah, 15-1 overall) are streaking toward a regular season district title, having won 10 games in a row.

Considering that the Bison have scored 12 or more runs in eight of their dozen games, you can see why the Generals remain optimistic about their team.

Winless in the Shenandoah District, the Generals fell to 0-17 overall.

However, relief pitcher Izzy Blank was one shining light on the Stonewall Jackson diamond.

Relieving Stonewall’s regular No. 2 hurler, who is away, Blank went 1 2/3 innings, prohibiting any runs, striking out two and allowing just one hit.

“She hasn’t pitched all that much for us because we’ve been working on her control. We’re missing our regular No. 2, so she went in there today,” said Stonewall head coach Leonard Veney, “but give (Buffalo Gap) credit. If you don’t hit your spots, they’re going to pound you.

That they did.

The Bison scored a dozen runs against starter Kelsey Hines, 11 of which were earned in 2 1/3 frames.

In all, the visitors rapped 14 hits against Stonewall pitching. Meanwhile, the General defense gave up four errors.

Buffalo Gap grouped its 12 scores in two innings, putting up five in the top of the first and another seven in the fourth. The Bison batted around twice.

Ally Shinaberry was 4-for-4 with two runs scored. Buffalo Gap teammates Madison McCoy and Autumn Stokes added two safeties apiece. Shelby Digman, who scored two runs and knocked in a third, doubled. McCoy tripled.

But it was on the mound where Buffalo Gap shined.

The dependable Simmons opened the game and threw a no-hitter with a walk before being relieved by Back in the fourth and fifth innings.

“She’s a college pitcher,” Veney said of Simmons, “if she keeps pitching like that, she certainly is.”

Simmons threw just 36 pitches in her three innings of work; she struck out eight of the 10 Generals she faced.

Back came in and allowed a hit. She struck out three.

The effort of Simmons was nothing surprising to first-year coach Darren Pultz.

She struck out 11 in a 13-3 victory over Stuarts Draft on May 2. Two nights later she tossed a one-hitter, fanning 10 in a 7-0 win against Luray.

“She’s always thrown fast, but in the past her consistency wasn’t there. We started working with her on a rise ball and it seems to be successful,” said Pultz

“The big difference about her is that in previous years, she might have gotten flustered a little bit if she gave up a hit or a run, but she’s calmed down a lot. She’s in control out there.”

Veney said his team continues working on fundamentals as the regular season concludes. The Generals will likely start their conference tournament on Friday.

Contact Jim Laise at sports@nvdaily.com

Softball

At Stonewall Jackson

Bison 12, Stonewall Jackson 0 (five innings)

Score by innings

Buffalo Gap 500 70 X X-12 14 0

Stonewall Jackson 000 00X X-0 1 4

Pitchers

Buffalo Gap-Simmons and Back (4)

Stonewall Jackson-Hines and Blank (4)

WP-Simmons; LP–Hines