- Last Updated on 07:42 PM 05/13/12
- BY Doug Ford
Halifax County Middle School softball Head Coach James Smith can’t remember the last time his teams had lost in consecutive Southside Middle School Conference Tournament championship game appearances.
It almost happened Thursday, but the Lady Lions, who lost to Park View in last year’s title game managed to squeak past Powhatan 2-1 to give Halifax County another tourney title and an undefeated season.
Taylor Barnes hit a two-run homer in the first inning and that proved barely enough, with Powhatan scoring a run in the third off three Lions errors.
Halifax County (14-0) had only four other hits in the contest, first-inning singles by Amber Moore and Sidney McLamb, a second-inning single by Carol Fears and a sixth-inning single by Barnes.
Powhatan finished with five hits, a first-inning single, second-inning double and single, fourth inning single and sixth-inning single.
Each team made plays in the field at key times to keep the game close, with the Lions making a couple of key plays to keep their one-run advantage.
One occurred in the first inning after a Powhatan base hit and sacrifice bunt.
Outfielder Kirsten Doss backed up an errant throw to first after a ground ball hit by the next batter and fired home to catcher Mackenzie Lawter to nab the Indian base runner.
A seventh-inning substitution at first base also paid defensive dividends for the Lions.
With a Powhatan base runner at second base after a one-out error and sacrifice bunt, Lions’ first baseman Sierra Nunn, perhaps the tallest player on the team, reached high to pull down a high throw on a Powhatan grounder to end the game.
Barnes went the distance on the mound to get the win, striking out six batters in seven innings while walking only two batters.
“She pitched really well, and we played really good defense, but both teams made plays,” said Smith.
“Powhatan had a great team,” he added. “We hit the ball hard, but they just made plays.
“We played pretty well, but we just didn’t hit. When you play a good team with good pitchers you’re not going to hit.”
“This is softball, and I told the team before the game it would be a tight game,” added Smith, who noted the two game-changing defensive plays by the Lions, including the final one.
“I had just made that change with Nunn at first base, and she jumped up and grabbed a high throw for the final out of game.”