Lady Cavs pull out a close one
The first round of the playoffs matched the fifth seeded South Iredell Vikings against the East Cavaliers in what turned out to be a great defensive struggle before late hitting lifted the Cavaliers to a 2-1 home win.
“Talk about squeaking one out. We knew that they were a five seed but they are a great five seed out of that conference” coach Julie Powell stated after the game. “Defensively we played a great game. We had some huge plays.”
Powell may have been referring to any number of plays like the frozen rope catcher Emily Dotson rifled to second to pick off the base runner or Kaylee Johnson tracking down a deep fly ball at the fence to preserve the scoreless tie.
However, Kenedi Hamrick’s diving grab at second base made for the defensive highlight of the game while starting Cavalier pitcher Savannah Davis added six strikeouts over seven innings for good measure.
The offense finally showed up in the bottom of the sixth inning when speedster Raven Gray made it to first base on a bunt single. Gray stole second on the following pitch.
A couple pitches later Gray was off to the races again attempting to steal second. The Vikings catcher sailed the throw to third high and Gray rounded third and slid safely into home plate for a 1-0 lead.
The lead didn't last long as the Vikings dug in their heels and fought for their playoff lives. The Vikings Crissy Davis reached first base on a leadoff walk to start the seventh. With nothing to lose, the Vikings sent Crissy Davis barreling around second after Kaylee Johnson hit a ground ball to second.
The Cavaliers failed to cover third base and the throw rolled into shallow left field as Davis crossed home plate to tie the score 1-1.
“I’m not sure who you would give that error to. To me it would go to (our) coverage not being there. Otherwise that was an out. The throw would have been there,” Powell said. "We did a good job of not quitting right there. A lot of times you hang your head when you give that run up. They are fighters.”
The Cavalier bats, which had been ineffective all night, would finally come alive in the bottom of the seventh when they needed them the most. The Vikings retired the first two Cavalier batters of the inning before Courtney Smith sent one hard over second base for the first single of the inning. Senior Klinnin Carson hit one to shallow center to put runners on first and third with two outs.
“That’s what we’re used to,” said Powell. “Talk about tearing your nerves up. Today we just couldn’t put them together but yes they came up with some good solid hits in the seventh.”
Leanna Briscoe’s hit most certainly falls into the category of solid. With an 0-3 count, the score tied and two outs, Briscoe caught a fastball over the plate and sent into deep center field. A moment later Smith made her way from second base to home plate securing the Cavaliers first round playoff victory 2-1.
The Cavaliers now must wait to see who they will face in the second round of the playoffs.