As we open up the high school softball season, the Lady Patriots played to a 3-3 tie in a ball game that went 8 innings and was called due to darkness on a cool March evening.
The young Patriots look like they have good speed, power, and a solid defense up the middle this season which has been their trademark of late. Also, the team’s top starter Jaylin Adkins went the distance and could have earned the win with a little bit of lady luck.
The Sabres from South Mecklenburg scored an unearned run in the first inning which might have been prevented to take a 1-0 early lead on a fielding error. Meanwhile, the Sabres freshman pitcher Taylor Barlow appeared to be dominating the Patriots in the first three innings putting up goose eggs on the scoreboard. Adkins was matching pitch for pitch keeping Indy close and ready for a comeback bid.
In the fourth inning, Indy was able to break through and tie the ball game 1-1. Adkins helped herself with a one-out double into the gap, she took third base on a relay throw mishandled by the Sabres. Then sophomore Midori Walkup followed with a triple in the left-center field gap scoring Adkins for the RBI. However, Barlow settled down and was able to strikeout freshman Teriris Adkins and Kristen Kirby to end the Patriot threat.
In the fifth frame, the Patriots struck quickly when spark plug Averie DiBenedetto reached on a perfect bunt, and with the throw going off the first baseman’s glove rolling only a few feet away the speedy young lady galloped to second base without a play. Abrianna Berry stepped into the batter’s box, the senior promptly delivered an RBI double scoring DiBenedetto from second base. Freshman Emma Wrenn laid down a nicely executed sacrifice bunt to move Berry to third base. Berry would score on a wild pitch to make the score 3-1 Indy. Maya Douglas on the next pitch would slash a double, however, she would be stranded on second base when Mallory Shaver smacked a hard-hit grounder to the shortstop for an inning-ending 6-3 putout.
In the seventh, the Sabres led off with a double and followed with a single making the score 3-2, the next batter popped out, the following hitter would strike out, now with two outs another base hit put runners on first and third. On a 2-2 count, a one-hop pitch was not blocked by the catcher, it rolled to the backstop scoring the runner from third to tie the game at 3-3. Adkins would get the next batter to end the inning on a weak infield fly.
In the bottom half of the seventh, after one out Berry lined a single to center, Shaver was called out on strikes on a 3-2 count, Adkins drilled a screaming liner to left, but right at the outfielder to squash, the potential game-winning hit.
In the eighth inning, both pitchers put down the side as the darkness began to slowly creep in on this already cloudy gray day. The Sabres were able to get a base runner on an infield single, but could not capitalize as Adkins was able to get the final hitter she faced to ground out routinely to shortstop.
For the Patriots, Maya Douglas went 3-4, Berry 2-4 with an RBI, Walkup 2-4 including an RBI, DiBenedetto 1-3, and Adkins 1-4. For South Mecklenburg Taylor Barlow was 2-3 to lead the Sabres. While Adkins pitched 8 innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 earned run, 3 K’s. Barlow hurled 8 innings, allowed 5 hits, 2 earned runs, while recording 10 strikeouts.