In a pitcher’s duel worthy of two of the Bay Rivers’ best, York’s Hannah Winfree held off New Kent ace Renee Silver while her teammates did their damage in the first inning, then held on for a 1-0 win yesterday in Yorktown.
Winfree faced her most trouble in the first inning, giving up consecutive two-out singles to Sarah Barnett, Rachel Baldwin and Kristin Colegrove before fanning Sarah Carter to end the inning, and the jam.
York leadoff hitter Mary O’Connor provided the spark in the bottom half of the stanza. The speedy shortstop reached first on an infield hit, stole second and reached third on Kimmy Ashe’s sacrifice bunt. O’Connor scored on Krista Zentner’s single and the scoring was finished for the day.
The next five-plus innings saw a pitching display from both sides. Not only did neither team score, they failed to get a runner past third base. In the top of the fourth, Winfree allowed runners to reach first and second, but a weak hopper back to the mound ended the inning with a 1-3 groundout.
York tried to bolster their edge in the bottom of the fifth. Winfree reached first on a grounder followed by a wide throw to the bag. Hannah Hautz hit a bouncer in front of home plate, but in the pursuit from the first and third basemen, first base remained open too long and both Winfree and Hautz reached. But Silver quickly straightened out, getting Eleni Wright to strike out, forcing a fielder’s choice on a Bree Barker grounder, then fanning O’Connor. For the day, the Lady Trojan pitcher punched out eight batters.
New Kent (11-2, 9-2 BRD) had a last gasp in the top of the seventh. Carter opened with a single and reached second on a two-out single by Alex Pair. But Winfree got leadoff hitter Dee Dee Samuels (2-4) to ground out to her and the game was over.
With the win, the Lady Falcons (10-3, 9-3 BRD) moved to within a half-game of the district lead, held by their opponent. Noting the importance of the win, coach Amy Hunter said, “Every game from here (six left in regular season) has a little bit of significance. We need to take this (win) and run with it, stay focused and get some help from the softball gods.”
Zentner was less concerned with the input from her sport’s ethereal beings. Noted the third baseman, “This was a major confidence builder for our team. We’re ready to take the district.”
NEW KENT (11-2, 9-2 BRD) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 8 0
YORK (10-3, 9-3 BRD) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 1 5 0
WP – Winfree (10-3), LP – Silver (11-2)
Standouts – New Kent – Samuels 2-4, Colegrove 2-3, Silver 8 K’s. York – Zentner 1-3, 1 RBI, Ashe 1-2, Hautz 1-2, Winfree 1-2, 5 K’s