Softball rolls after sluggish start

Published 9:28 am Thursday, April 27, 2017

When you’re 15-3 and looking at the big picture, the coach will dissect dominating games looking for cracks – or the appearance of cracks – in the armor.

Playing its first game in nine days, Davie’s varsity softball team started sluggishly against Reagan on April 22. It eventually kicked into high gear and won 9-2. The game was scheduled for the road, but Reagan’s field was unplayable and it was moved to Rich Park. Davie was the visiting team on the field.

“I think it was pretty obvious that we had taken some time off,” coach Dawn Lowery said. “We came out a little flat and couldn’t string a lot of hits together. We just capitalized on their (seven) errors. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but it still counts.”

While the Raiders fell to 9-12 and 6-5 in the Central Piedmont Conference, Davie rose to 15-3 and 8-1 with its 10th win in 11 games.

The War Eagles stomped Reagan 15-0 on March 10, but the start of this one was much tougher – 0-0 after two innings.

“It was a game I was glad to get out of the way,” Lowery said. “You never really want to play a team like Reagan coming back from a break because they are talented and they’re one of those teams that you can’t take lightly or they will sneak up on you. They beat West Forsyth earlier in the season, and I think that’s the first time that’s ever happened.”

K’lea Parks, a .375 hitter and rock-solid third baseman, wasn’t available as she attended her future softball home, North Greenville.

“She told me earlier in the season that she had that going on and I tried my best not to play on that day,” Lowery said. “The way the cards fell, it was the only day we could play them.”

Lowery adjusted by putting Emilee Dishman at shortstop and sliding Desiree Lewis from short to third.

“We missed K’lea, but Desiree did a great job filling in and Emilee looked sharp at short,” Lowery said.

Dishman, batting ninth in the order, gave the War Eagles a lift in the top of the third. She triggered a two-run rally with a solid single.

“We had not done a good enough job up until that point,” Lowery said. “We weren’t being disciplined enough. (Reagan’s pitcher) had thrown I think three strikes in two innings. She wasn’t having to work for it. She was a slower pitcher and we were struggling to adjust to her speed. Then Emilee started us off with a nice hit to the right side.”

Bridgett Tierney followed with a single. Anna Devereaux’s sac bunt advanced the runners, and Makenzie Smith’s sac fly plated Dishman. Then came a double to right-center from Sierra Ferguson that made it 2-0.

Lewis was involved in two sparkling plays. One went down in the book as a plus and the other should have been in Davie’s eyes. With one on in the third, Lewis made an over-the-shoulder catch on a blooper.

“Desiree is a true athlete and she can make plays that some players can’t,” Lowery said. “That was one of those plays.”

The other Lewis play was a near double play.

“Desiree got the ball at third and looked the runner back at second,” Lowery said. “She threw to Sierra at first (for an out). Then Desiree came back and covered her bag at third, and Sierra absolutely hummed it over to third. The girl was out but they called her safe. It was a great play. It got us fired up even though we didn’t get the call.”

In the fifth, Davie did what a big favorite is supposed to do. McKenzie Barneycastle reached on an error that allowed Anna Devereaux and Ferguson to score. Lewis followed with an RBI single, and she wound up scoring on the play when the catcher’s throw to second ended up in center field. When the dust settled, the 2-0 spread had grown to 6-0.

In the Reagan fifth, the Raiders pushed across two unearned runs off Olivia Boger, but Davie got the two back in the sixth. Jessie Beck got it done with a two-run single, and it was out of reach at 8-2.

Dishman added the punctuation mark in the seventh, catching a line drive and throwing to Ferguson for an unassisted, game-ending double play.

Tierney (2-5), Lewis (2-3) and Dishman (2-4) led Davie with two hits each. Smith (1-3, walk), Ferguson (1-3, two runs) and Beck (1-4) had one apiece. Devereaux and Barneycastle drew two walks each.

Reagan has never beaten Davie, and it wasn’t about to happen on Boger’s watch. She pitched a three-hitter and dropped her ERA to 1.98.

Notes: Ferguson and Tierney extended their amazing hitting streaks to 26 and 17 games, respectively. … With 78 RBIs, Smith is tied for second on the career list. Morgan Wyatt had 91 from 2007-10 and Sarah Myers had 78 from 2012-15. … Ferguson has 30 RBIs, good for the second on the single-season list. Caroline Miller had 34 in 2013. … Only two pitchers in program history have reached 12 victories. It’s been done four times, and Boger is responsible for two of them. Shannon Handy went 15-1 in 2001 and 12-4 in 2000. Boger went 12-5 last year and is 12-3 this year. … Boger is tied for fifth in season strikeouts with 98. Layne Grout holds the record with 151 in 2002.