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Pitcher Jackie Tremain's change-up leaves three James River runners stranded at third base.
JON FLEMING | Special to The Roanoke Times
Abby Tincher was the starting pitcher for James River against Goochland in a Group A state semifinal game Saturday at Radford University. 6/8/2013, James River vs. Goochland, group A state semi-final, VHSL Jubilee. Abby Tincher was the starting pitcher for James River against Goochland in a state semifinal game.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
RADFORD - A foul ball sailed straight over the backstop, passed through a narrow open window, and caused heads to duck and bodies to scatter in the press box Saturday at Veterans Field.
James River came close, but the Knights just could not get a big hit.
Goochland sophomore pitcher Jackie Tremain stranded three runners on third base and the Bulldogs made two first-inning runs standing up as they ended James River's season with a 3-1 victory in a VHSL Group A Division 2 semifinal.
The Bulldogs (22-4) will face Floyd County for the state title at 10 a.m. Sunday at Radford University.
James River (19-6) went back to Botetourt County two steps shy of a fourth state championship in 11 years.
"I really saw us getting through tomorrow," James River coach Kasey Austin said. "I'm sure everybody says that in my position."
While the Knights struggled to produce a clutch hit, they also committed four errors including one in the first inning that allowed the Richmond-area team to a take a quick 2-0 lead.
James River starter Abby Tincher walked Chakiryn Jackson to open the game, and made a wild throw to first base on a sacrifice bunt by the next batter, Jordan Fleming, allowing the first run to score.
Goochland made it 2-0 on a one-out RBI-single by Carly Plummer.
"Very unusual," Austin said. "We haven't done that all year. When you start the game like that, it kind of takes us out of our elemental start and it was kind of hard to get back in our rhythm."
James River answered in the bottom of the first inning as Payton Hatcher hit a one-out single, moved to third on a double by Kayla Hannah and scored on a single by Jenna Sprinkle.
However, Tremain escaped the jam with two strikeouts, and she also stranded runners at third base in the fifth and sixth innings, finishing with a five-hitter. Kaitlyn Barger led off the fifth with a triple but never moved as Tremain got the next three outs.
"She threw change-ups," Sprinkle said. "It could be two strikes, first strike, it could be anything. She threw it whenever she wanted."
Tremain credited her teammates.
"When our defense is on, we're on," Tremain said. "They really had my back today. That's really what got us out of those jams."
Tremain aided her cause with an RBI-double that scored Brandi Tester, who had reached on a throwing error by Knights third baseman Alexis Breeding. Tincher and reliever Jessica Simmons limited the Bulldogs to just three other hits.
"It was pressure lifted off my shoulders," Tremain said. "I knew that we could make a mistake and we'd still have that run."
The Knights had the bottom of the order in the seventh but could not put a runner on base to get back to leadoff hitter Casie Hill.
"With our lineup I had faith in them up to that last swing," Phillips said. "We've been in tough ballgames all year, and we've played a lot of tough competition. We've been able to come back quite a few times. Today, it just wasn't in the cards for us."
James River had a 15-game win streak broken in a 5-0 loss to Floyd County in the Region C final. Sprinkle said Floyd's 13-4 win over Northumberland in the first semifinal might have taken the Knights' attention away from their task at hand.
"Yeah, a little bit," Sprinkle said. "I know I did, personally. They beat us and we wanted revenge. That could have been a factor."
Instead, Goochland will play in its first state final since losing 20-16 to Essex in 1978. The Bulldogs will need to tighten up their baserunning. They had three runners thrown out and another called for interference.
"I told them we need to work on some things," Goochland coach Amy Henneberger said. "We can't have that in big games. We got lucky a couple of times. We haven't arrived yet. We've still got work to do."
Goochland 200 010 0 - 3 3 0
James River 100 000 0 - 1 5 4
Tremain and Tester; Tincher, Simmons (6) and Hannah. W - Tremain. L - Tincher.
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