Softball team loses

Published 10:04 am Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Davie softball team’s trip to the beach produced mixed reviews.

The War Eagles (8-6) took a step forward with a 5-2 win over East Wilkes. They took a big step back with a 15-6 loss to West Brunswick, followed by another big step back with a 10-0 loss to Richmond County. They picked up some needed momentum with a 10-8 win over East Columbus.

The games were held at West Brunswick.

Coach Dawn Lowery was “disappointed” with the total showing. “Right now as coaches, we don’t know which Davie team is coming to play,” she said. “Basically, we need to be more consistent.”

Davie started well, beating an East Wilkes team that has defeated Forbush, which topped Davie 2-1 earlier this season. The 5-2 win stopped a two-game slide and marked the most runs in four games.

“We came out with guns blazing,” Lowery said. “We knew they had previously beaten Forbush by one run and would be a tough opponent. We went back and forth with them. It was a good game.”

Leadoff batter Bridgett Tierney (2 for 4, two stolen bases), No. 2 batter McKenzie Barneycastle (3-4, two steals) and cleanup batter Sarah Myers (2-3, three RBIs, double) accounted for all the hits as Davie outhit East 7-5.

Davie trailed 1-0 before roaring to a 4-1 advantage. It got solid pitching from Olivia Boger (three innings, one hit, one unearned run) and Julie Gough (four innings, four hits, one unearned run).

In the third, Davie scored twice to erase East’s lead. After Tierney, Barneycastle and Jessie Beck reached base, Myers provide the lead with a two-run single.

Davie established a working margin in the fifth. Barneycastle singled and stole second. Myers plated her with a double, then scored herself on a passed ball.

The downer for Davie’s offense: 11 strikeouts.

“We won that game with some great base running by Barneycastle and Tierney and some timely hits by Myers,” Lowery said. “But other than those three players, our bats were dead. So they teamed up and helped get us the win.”

The War Eagles, though, were lackluster pretty much all the way around in the next game against the eventual tournament champion, West Brunswick.

The 15-6 loss saw Davie allow the most runs in 57 games (15-3 home loss to Carson in 2013). Brunswick’s six-run third erased Davie’s 3-1 lead. Brunswick’s six-run sixth was the twist-of-the-dagger blow.

Davie’s three pitchers struck out two batters. By contrast, Davie’s batters struck out 10 times. Davie’s defense was bad as well, allowing six unearned runs.

“This was a different story,” Lowery said. “We have to be mentally tough. That’s the biggest issue. That is the source of our weaknesses now. We get down in the game or get out at the plate or make an error and it affects the rest of our game. Instead, we have to learn how to move on to the next play or at-bat and chip away at the score.”

Tierney and Myers both went 2 for 4 to account for four of Davie’s seven hits. Barneycastle, Anna Devereaux and Sierra Ferguson had one hit each. Brunswick pounded out 11 hits.

Davie led 3-1 after two before coming undone. In the three-run second, Devereaux doubled between a pair of walks. Barneycastle knocked in a pair with a single.

Brunswick homered during the six-run third. Three hits and several errors helped Brunswick put up the other six-spot in the sixth.

One of the low points of the season was the 10-0 loss to unbeaten Richmond County. The War Eagles swung the bats meekly (getting outhit 11-3) and gave up eight unearned runs as they committed four errors.

Tierney, Makenzie Smith and Devereaux had Davie’s hits. Richmond’s pitcher retired the final 10 batters as Davie suffered its third shutout loss.

Two of Richmond’s four hits during a five-run second were home runs. The Nos. 3-4 batters hit back-to-back shots, the first being a grand slam. The game ended after five via the 10-run rule.

“This was a disaster,” Lowery said. “They came into our game 11-0 and I think the girls were beat before they stepped on the field.”

All six runs against starting pitcher Julie Gough were unearned. Davie’s third pitcher, Myers, was effective (two innings, two hits, no runs, no walks, three strikeouts).

Something totally unexpected happened later in the week: Richmond dropped the next two games, including one to East Wilkes.

“The crazy part about it is they went on to lose the next two,” Lowery said. “It’s all about who is going to show up. We have to treat every game like it’s the state playoffs.”

In the 10-8 win over East Columbus, the War Eagles picked up momentum that was very much needed, scoring the most runs in seven games.

K’lea Parks and Beck slammed home runs and Barneycastle, Smith and Katelyn Webb had two hits each. Tierney and Ferguson had one hit each.

Both teams had 10 hits. Davie’s second of three pitchers, Gough, produced the best line (two innings, two hits, two unearned runs).

“We needed that win,” Lowery said. “We hit the ball much better, and it was evenly distributed through (the lineup). That showed that they played for the team instead of themselves.”

In the third, Davie turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. Webb (single), Barneycastle (single) and Tierney (walk) set the table for Smith’s two-run double.

In the fourth, Davie erased a 5-4 deficit and surged in front 10-5. Webb (single), Barneycastle (walk), Tierney (walk) and Smith (RBI single) produced before Parks and Beck flexed their muscles. Parks connected for a grand slam, followed by a soloe homer by Beck.

“We had some big offensive plays,” Lowery said. “Hopefully (the home runs will) spark the team and get us back on track.”

It was, unfortunately, a flawed victory. Davie committed seven errors.

“That is unacceptable,” she said. “The fact that we made seven errors and still won is just God’s way of looking out for us. We need to tighten up all the way around.”