Lady Bulldogs fall to Sullivan North

By Wes Holtsclaw
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

   Despite a supporting home crowd and a magnificent comeback effort, the Hampton Lady Bulldog softball team took a hard hit against the Sullivan North Lady Raiders, as two tough innings defeated Hampton 17-4 in a six-frame affair Thursday afternoon.
   "Well, the only thing about it is you can't have enough runs when you're the visiting team," said North coach Harris Hoover. "And the kid they brought in to pitch (Amanda Finney) shut us down. She wasn't overpowering, just different, and anytime you bring somebody different in it takes a few innings to get it together.
   "Then of course, we had the big inning at the end to put it away. Defensively, we kicked it a little bit, but they hit the ball pretty well, too. But anytime you get off the field with nothing to leave, you'll be winning some ballgames. I do give the kid that came in for Hampton (Amanda Finney) credit -- she did a super job for them."
   Sullivan North started out behind the bats against opening Hampton pitcher Heather Chambers. Chambers opened up by walking the first three Lady Raider batters, when Lindsey Collins hammered in three runs with her double.
   The Lady Raiders pushed across five more runs before Finney took the mound for Hampton.
   "It was a tough game for us," said Lady Bulldog coach Patrick Kelly. "We spotted them an early lead. I commend the girls, they did fight they came back and played four real good innings of defense. We got a couple of people on base, loaded the bases a couple of times and they could've folded and stopped, but they didn't, so I give them credit there.
   "North's a good team, they're a well-coached strong team and they were on today. We did some things well, unfortunately we couldn't come back far enough to stick with it."
   Jessica Hartsock drove in two RBIs with a double, followed by a forced out RBI from Collins, giving North a 12-0 lead over the Lady Bulldogs.
   Hampton had a tough first inning, as North pitcher Arissa Vaughn sat down the first two of her ten strikeouts cutting Hampton little slack.
   The Lady Bulldogs came back strong, playing tough defense against North, as Finney sat down six batters throughout the next four innings.
   Hampton finally got on the board in the second inning, as Finney singled, followed by a Stacie McCall walk. Finney scored on a wild throw, before Ria Davis singled in McCall cutting the lead at 12-2.
   Hampton scored again in the third inning after a Chambers single, with a Joy Gardner double providing the extra squeeze.
   Neither team would score until the sixth inning, when Sullivan North jumped with a flick of the switch scoring five unanswered runs.
   Tracie Bernard started the scorefest with an RBI fielder's choice, followed by an RBI single from Hartsock. Collins grabbed her sixth RBI, with a two-run double, followed by a walk giving North the 17-3 lead.
   Wendy Hyatt scored the final run for Hampton on a wild throw, but it would be North taking home the victory.
   Vaughn took the win for the Lady Raiders.