Lexington jumped out to a 2-0 start at its own Wildcat Invitational softball tournament on Friday at the Pine Grove Sports Complex. Russell Spires’ veteran team scored two 3-2 wins – one against Ashley Ridge, the other vs. Midlands rival Spring Valley in the final game of the night.
“It’s was tough, but it feels good to get two wins,” said Spires. “We rally haven’t hit the ball as well as we can so far this season, but we’ve made up for it by pitching well and playing great defense.”
Alert defense made all the difference vs. Spring Valley. A sparkling, unassisted double play by third baseman Meagan Lynch got Lexington out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third inning. Pitcher Brittany Carr cut off a throw from the outfield and fired to first base to catch Mariah Sanborn making a wide turn after stroking a run-scoring single in the sixth that cut the Wildcats lead to 3-2. In the seventh, Lynch made a nice pick up of a bullet off the bat of Sanborn, and caught SV’s Mickaela Gonzalez straying too far off second base instead of throwing to first.
On the other side, Spring Valley pitcher Rachel Mellin was victimized by shoddy defensive support. The Vikings were guilty of three errors in all, two of the miscues coming in the bottom of the fifth inning that set the stage for Lexington to score three unearned runs.
Lexington’s turn in the fifth began with a three-base error, but Lynch did not score until Maddie Labrador poked a clutch, two-hit hit to shallow center field. Another error put Wildcats on second and third base, but Mellin still had a chance to escape with the lead in hand. Instead, leadoff hitter Amber Allen ripped a triple down the right field line for what proved to be the game-winning hit.
The Vikings finished with six hits against Carr, who went the distance to get the pitching decision. Christie Reilly and Mellin had RBI hits for Spring Valley, which lost for the third game in a row and fell to 2-4 in the early going.
Lexington, which came make it to the championship round by beating Hillcrest in its final pool game today at 1 p.m., improved to 5-1 with its Friday sweep. The Wildcats managed only four hits off Mellin.
“We didn’t get many hits, but we got them when we needed them the most,” said Spires.