Youth can be served. It can also drive you crazy. Just ask Patrick Henry softball coach Shelby Webb.
Off the heels of a comeback win at Lee-Davis, the Patriots faced Group AA Caroline, and, though the Cavaliers defeated them 2-1 in a scrimmage three weeks earlier, no Patriot fan expected a repeat.
That’s exactly what happened.
Riding the arm of pitcher Abby Morrow, Caroline upset Patrick Henry, again by the count of 2-1, in a game moved to Ashland due to poor field conditions in Caroline.
“They [Patrick Henry] bring the best out of us,” said Caroline head coach Greg Trainum. “These girls, it doesn’t matter where we play. The one game we played at home, we lost.”
Caroline scored first, when, with runners on the corners in the second inning, the Cavaliers executed a double steal on a called third strike with Rebecca Calhoun scoring from third to make it 1-0. The Patriots tied it in the top of the third on a two-out double by shortstop Paige Mitchell, scoring Ellen Davidson. They would have a chance to take the lead in the top of the sixth, but Mitchell was caught trying to steal third after her second double of the game. This proved critical as the next batter, Ashley Samuels, walked, then pinch runner Abby Clement went to second when Caroline committed an error on a slow grounder by Hunter Glave. Those runners were stranded, leaving the tie intact.
The Patriots allowed a lead runner, junior India Holmes. Then on a line out to pitcher Candace Whittemore, she attempted to double up the runner at first, but threw wide. This allowed Holmes to advance to third. With two out, Madison Woody skied a pitch into left field, but Taylor Prokopis misjudged the ball, allowing it to drop in, scoring Holmes from third base for what would be the winning run.
Briana Woody reached on an infield single with two down in the seventh, but a groundout by Davidson to second ended the game. Three crucial errors, including two in the sixth, gave the Cavaliers the win.
“It’s hard to win a ball game when you give unearned runs,” Webb noted. “Last time against Caroline and this time, two unearned runs.”
Her sophomore shortstop, Mitchell, wise beyond her years, reminded them of an adage softball teams live and die by.
“Paige told them the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins, and that was not us tonight,” Webb said.
The Patriots would quickly learn from their mistakes and fire off a 10-0, six-inning rout of Hermitage the next night to enter spring break with a 3-0 record in the Colonial District, 4-2 overall. Four players had multiple hits against the Panthers, including Woody, Mitchell, and Glave with two each, and Alex Reed with three. Whittemore struck out 11 batters in the win. Patrick Henry returns from break with another home contest, back in the Colonial District, against 0-2 Mills Godwin.