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Broadway rallies to tie the Group AA quarterfinal twice late, but the Gobblers are plagued by errors as the Knights win 10-9 in the eighth.
T.J. Witten | Special to The Roanoke Times
Pami White belts a three-run homer for Cave Spring to tie the score at 6 in the sixth.
T.J. Witten | Special to The Roanoke Times
Cave Spring’s Lauren Roach hits a grounder, which Broadway third baseman Paige Lam misplayed to allow the winning run to score Tuesday.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Last year, the Cave Spring softball team did not even advance to its regional tournament.
This year, the Knights are two victories away from their first state crown.
Helped by 10 Broadway errors, the host Knights beat the Gobblers 10-9 in eight innings in a Group AA quarterfinal Tuesday.
“It was nerve-wracking, especially when they kept coming back,” said Cave Spring sophomore Pami White, who had a two-RBI single and a three-run homer. “They’re a tough hitting team and they were not giving up. But we don’t give up either.
“It was fun. Those are the better games to play — the nerve-wracking, close games.”
The Knights (22-4), who scored the winning run on an error, advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since 2006. They will play King George in their semifinal at 1 p.m. Friday at Radford University.
Cave Spring hopes to add a Group AA title to the three it has already won this year — the River Ridge District regular-season crown, the district tournament title and the Region IV championship.
The Knights, who have won 16 straight games, banged out 12 hits.
“Discipline makes us a good hitting team because we don’t swing at all the crap that the other team throws us,” said Cortney Cooper, a senior who had three hits and one RBI.
Last year, the Knights went 11-11 and saw their season end in the district semifinals. But the Knights made the state tournament this season for the second time in three years.
“Last year we had a lot of drama going on and this year we’re more of a team and we’re all in it together,” said Cooper, who scored three runs, including the winning run.
“Now that we’re close, it’s like everything’s coming together,” winning pitcher Taylor Asimakopoulos said.
The Knights committed three errors, but Broadway reached double digits in defensive gaffes.
“We just try to keep hitting the ball, putting pressure on [the defense of] teams,” Cave Spring coach Nick Sharp said.
Sharp, formerly Cave Spring’s JV coach, is in his first season steering the varsity.
“We said earlier in the year, ‘We will continue to grow and get better as we adapt to a new style and a new system,’ ” said Sharp, who starts just two seniors. “It’s not something overly different; it’s just my way of doing things.”
Broadway (22-6) had already ended the season of two Timesland teams (Northside and Jefferson Forest) during the Region III tournament. The Gobblers, who made the state final last year, gave Cave Spring trouble too.
Down 6-2, Broadway tied the score with four runs in the sixth. Later trailing 9-6, the Gobblers scored three runs in the top of the seventh, thanks in part to two Cave Spring errors.
“It was scary,” Asimakopoulos said. “They came back and kept hitting. We just had to hit with them.”
Cave Spring needed an extra inning to finally put the Gobblers away.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Knights had runners on second and third thanks to a Cooper single, a Kylie Kent single and an error. Broadway then chose to walk White, who had homered in her last at-bat.
With the bases loaded, Madi Billings struck out for the second out.
Lauren Roach hit a grounder that could have been the final out. But third baseman Paige Lam made a fielding error, allowing Cooper to score the winning run.
Asimakopoulos (21-3) went the distance for Cave Spring, allowing 11 hits. The junior struck out two and walked three.
“You just throw what you can and hope for the best,” she said.
Down 2-0, Cave Spring scored a run in the third on an Abby Beatty single, two errors and Cooper’s run-scoring sacrifice fly.
Cave Spring scored five runs in the fourth to grab a 6-2 lead. The inning included an RBI single by Beatty, four Broadway errors and a two-RBI single by White.
Broadway tied the score at 6-6 in the top of the sixth, but Asimakopoulos retired Jerrica McCallister on a grounder with runners on second and third to end the top half of that inning.
White belted a three-run homer to give Cave Spring a 9-6 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
“I just remember wanting to hit it — and hit it far,” White said.
The Gobblers answered with three runs in the top of the seventh, but Asimakopoulos retired Alex Layman on a grounder with the bases loaded to end the top half of that inning. It was the second time in the game that she retired Layman on an inning-ending grounder with the bases loaded.
Kent had two hits and scored one run. Hailey Sitze also had two hits.
Broadway 002 004 30 — 9 11 10
Cave Spring 001 503 01 — 10 12 3
Foltz, Greer (4), Foltz (7) and Smith; Asimakopoulos and White. W— Asimakopoulos (21-3). L— Foltz. HRs: BHS: Roadcap; CS: White (3).
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