Sherando edges James Wood in softball
WINCHESTER – James Wood coach Todd Baker walked across the field and handed Sherando’s Clarence Smith a wooden canteen after Thursday’s softball clash between the Northwestern District rivals.
The canteen, with a decoration on each side from both schools, goes to the winner whenever the two schools clash. As he handed it to Smith, Baker said with a grin, “Congratulations again, I’m going to get it back.”
If Thursday’s clash was any indication, the canteen won’t be easy for either team to secure.
Tori Seymour’s solo homer to lead off the seventh snapped a 3-3 tie and Lauren Smith’s two-run shot provided the difference as the Warriors held off the Colonels 6-5 at Ridge Field.
The intense battle was another in the rivalry between the two programs.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Clarence Smith said. “For us coaches, we kind of live vicariously through these moments. It’s addictive.
For whatever reason, I think it’s familiarity. These girls seem to take their competitive nature a step up. It’s always a fun game.”
Seymour, who had just missed a home run to dead center in her previous at-bat, led off the seventh. The senior jumped on Lani Spielman’s first pitch, drilling a home run to left that was just out of the reach of left fielder Ivy Rosenberry.
“I’m more of an impatient hitter,” Seymour admitted. “That first pitch, if it’s there, I’ve got to go. There’s no need to wait.”
“Tori is a big-game player and she was able to come up with a big play,” Coach Smith added.
The Warriors (2-4, 1-0 Northwestern District) weren’t done. Sierra Strosnider drew a one-out walk and Lauren Smith followed by blasting her first career varsity home run, a drive deep to left-center field to make it 6-3.
“I feel like I’ve been waiting a while for it,” said Smith, a sophomore. “I’ve been putting in so much work with my coaches and working on my swing, it just happened tonight and it was great.”
Smith also was in line to get the win in the circle, but needed a little help because the Colonels wouldn’t give up.
Smith got the first two outs, but Ivy Rosenberry doubled to the gap in right-center. Lindsey Anderson then followed with an opposite-field smash over the right-center field fence to make it 6-5.
Sierra Strosnider relieved Smith and walked Rebecca Boone. Camryn Rizzari just missed a possible game-tying double down the left-field line that was foul by about a foot. Rizzari then smoked a grounder into the hole near first. Warrior second baseman Ashton Clark made a diving grab and threw to first to nip Rizzari for the final out.
“We rallied back and we never quit,” Baker said. “That’s the way we coach and that’s the way the team is. We don’t quit. You’re going to have to beat us for seven innings and it was a great game.”
The victory was especially sweet for Smith, who suffered a severe injury over the summer. Smith broke her left ankle sliding into second base and is playing now with a plate and nine screws to keep it together.
“Truthfully, I was probably pitching sooner then I should have been,” Smith said of her recovery. “I really wanted to pitch. In the early season it’s been tough. You just have to rely on the people behind you.”
The Colonels (4-2, 1-1) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second. Boone doubled and Rizzari singled sharply up the middle to put runners at the corners. Boone scored on an error as Rizzari was stealing second base. Spielman then plated Rizzari with a single to left.
Sherando bounced back in the fourth. Korenn Paige led off with a walk and Strosnider followed with a bullet up the middle for a single. After both runners moved up Smith’s sacrifice bunt, Clark blooped a two-run single to left. Clark later scored on a two-out wild-pitch to make it 3-2.
Smith was able to keep the Colonels off the board until the fifth. Rosenberry, who had walked in her previous two at-bats, led off with a towering blast to deep left-center that squared the score.
Both teams had baserunners in the sixth, but were unable to score, setting up the long ball dramatics in the seventh.
Seymour, Strosnider and Smith had two hits each for the Warriors. Smith allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out one.
Rosenberry and Spielman had two hits each for the Colonels. Spielman allowed seven hits, four walks and struck out six before being relieved after Smith’s homer.
The win was big for the Warriors, who have struggled early.
“They are our rivals,” Seymour said. “I have played with so many of them for so long. It’s just an energy [game]. Everyone is up. Everyone is at it. It’s a nice rivalry to look forward to.”
The two teams will meet again for the canteen on May 1. The MVP of each season’s matchups has their name engraved in metal on a plate that fits around the canteen. So far, James Wood’s Lauren King is the lone name.
“Our rivalry is so much fun,” Clarence Smith said. “It just takes this up one extra notch.”