Tough inning drives softball loss to Albemarle

By Duncan Nixon, correspondent

One bad inning was all it took for the Fluco softball team to fall seriously behind Thursday (May 9) against the Albemarle Patriots.

The game started with a scoreless first inning. The Flucos got a single by second baseman Loren Black and a walk by third baseman Lindsay Ward but failed to score. In the second, the Patriots put up three runs, but the Flucos responded in the bottom of the inning with a single run. Consecutive two out singles by right fielder Kaitlin Gordon, shortstop Hannah Breeden and centerfielder Catera Marsh resulted in the Fluco score. The third innings was also scoreless.

The top of the fourth was the Flucos’ bad inning. The Patriots had several solid hits, but the Fluco defense was not functioning on all its cylinders and a couple of physical and mental errors resulted in a five-run inning for Albemarle. Down by a score of 1-8, the Flucos did not give up, rallying for three runs in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to 4-8. The Fluco fourth started with a ground out. Gordon then walked and Breeden and Marsh both singled again to load the bases. Black grounded into a force play at second that drove in a run. Catcher Gracie Walton walked to reload the bases and Ward singled to score two runs.

In the fifth inning, the Patriots added another run to make the score 4-9. The Flucos lost an out in the bottom of the inning when the Patriot catcher, backing up first, pounced on an errant throw from the shortstop and gunned down a Fluco trying to take second base. The sixth inning was scoreless.

In the seventh the Patriots lengthened their lead again as they added two runs to bring the score to 4-11. In the seventh and final inning, for the first time in the game, the Flucos got their leadoff batter on base. Ward reached first on an error. Left fielder Montana Dudley grounded into a force out at second. After a pop out, Kendra Paschall singled to put runners at first and second. Gordon doubled to right to score two runs but the Patriots managed to tag Gordon at second for the third out to end the game. The final score was 6-11.

The Flucos managed 10 hits and six runs, which is normally enough offense to win in softball. But their one bad inning was devastating. After the game, Coach Tre Smith noted that 10 hits for the Flucos is fairly common as most of his starters are hitting at or around .300. Smith also praised Gordon, who had two hits and a walk, as a real leader, who has come on strong and is a senior captain. Breeden and Marsh also had two hits and Ward was on base all four at bats with a walk, a hit by pitch, a single and an on base on error.

The softball team played its next-to-last regular season game on Tuesday (May 14) at Western Albemarle. Their final regular season game is Thursday (May 16), when they host Louisa County. The play-off picture is still not clear and will depend on the final games of the season.

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