Lady 'Dogs denied a victory by Cloudland

By Kim Richardson
STAR Staff

   The Hampton Lady Bulldogs just couldn't win one for the Gipper, for the coach, for the school, for themselves.
   "Yes it's sad," stated Lady Bulldogs shortstop Susie Loveday following Hampton' disappointing 14-5 loss to county rival Cloudland on Friday. "We did some good things today. We fielded well at times, but we haven't been consistent. Realistically we have to look toward the future, toward improving as a team."
   Loveday scored two runs for the winless Lady Bulldogs, who wrapped up a winless regular season.
   Hampton actually got off to a good start as Heather Chambers reached on an error. Chambers scored when Loveday laid down a beautiful bunt, and reached base on the second Lady Highlander error, this time an overthrow past first base.
   "We have to continue to improve our fielding, said Highlander second baseman Nikki Carrow, who then facetiously added, "but overall, well, we got-er-done."
   The 'Landers batted around in each of the first three innings and plated 10, doubling the Bulldogs' output.
   "We're by no stretch of the imagination a great team," said Cloudland head coach Gary Keith. "We'll have to always look to get better; we need to just be consistent. It's tournament time."
   Kayla Blevins started and finished the game for Cloudland, and thinks the Bulldogs are much-improved.
   "We were terrible last year," said Blevins. "We don't think were the best we can be at this point, but we've continued to work very hard. We have just an amazing coach, who refuses to allow us to underachieve."
   Blevins continued, "Hampton is improved. I'm sure they're disappointed in their season thus far, but hey, we were awfully bad a year ago. They have some good players and they'll be good for sure."
   Daranda Byrd was rock solid at shortstop for Cloudland with six 6-3 assists and one throw to second for another. She also had three base hits and five RBIs for the Lady Highlanders.
   Lauren Pitman played solidly in the losing cause, but sees many better days ahead, saying: "It's a matter of us cutting down on the mental errors. We'll keep battling."
   Even more unfortunate for the Lady Bulldogs, the play of the day occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning when right fielder Amanda Peters collided with the center fielder while making an outstanding catch of a fly ball to left center field.
   Peters' nose was bruised and bloody but she chalked it up to "a matter of a slight miscommunication; but we do work hard, and we'll continue to practice and improve," said Norris, who continued playing after a medical time out.