CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – As the early portion of the spring sports season starts to fade into the distance, a common theme has been echoed by coaches from several spring sports.
Poor winter weather late and a few rain-outs during the early spring season has left teams still struggling to find their footing. Northeast High softball is among those teams as Madisonville-North Hopkins traveled down from Kentucky to hand the Lady Eagles a 8-3 loss in the first day of the Tennessee Softball Coaches’ Association Tournament Thursday
“We haven’t played as many games at this point in the season as we did last year,” Northeast softball coach Dustin Brady said. “At this point last year we had close to 20 games under our belt. Right now, we’re trying to get our feet straight with only 11 games played. We’re still trying to find the best nine girls to put into the lineup and it’s taking some time.”
Meanwhile, his team managed to scatter four hits Thursday afternoon against one of Kentucky’s top softball teams. The Lady Maroons were led by pitcher Mallory Peyton, who pitched five innings before being relieved by Heather Webb. Ironically, it was Webb’s bat that did most of the damage for Madisonville.
Webb hit a three-run home run and added a double, driving in five runs to lead the Lady Maroons.
“We put ourselves in some holes in some situations this year,” Brady said. “But we also faced a very good team and you have to give Madisonville credit. But I thought had we not made as many mistakes as we did in the game, it would have been a lot closer.”
Northeast committed four errors on the day and still was able to cut Madisonville’s lead in half by the fifth inning. But two of those four errors came in the top of the sixth that led to two more Madisonville runs that put the game away.
Alicia Veltri was tagged with the loss despite pitching strong.
“Alicia was hitting her spots,” Brady said. “She rarely missed but you have a team like Madisonville who is capable of driving low pitches out of the ballpark. That’s just talent and there’s little you can do about that.”
Webb came to the plate after teammates Peyton and Morgan McElroy each singled. Webb crushed a Veltri pitch over the center field fence as the Lady Maroons took a 3-0 advantage in the top of the first.
Webb’s double in the top of the third came after Peyton amd McElroy repeated their first inning feat with base hits. The pair came around to score as Madisonville’s lead stretched to 5-0.
But Northeast continued to battle, finally getting on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Autumn Adams stroked a double over the Lady Maroons’ head in center field to score a run. Northeast got a pair across home plate in the bottom of the fifth off two Madisonville errors but that was all Northeast could muster.
Despite the loss, Brady said Madisonville coaches were impressed with the competitiveness of the game and requested to play them again this season.
“Madisonville has been run-ruling teams in Kentucky,” Brady said. “This was the first game they’ve had that’s been competitive since the state tournament for them last year. So they want to schedule another game for this season and to possibly split a home-and-away for next year. I’d love to play them again.”
Northeast will return to action Friday in the TSCA Tournament where it will head to Heritage Park for the remainder of its games. The tournament has been generating a lot of interest with its support of student athletes.
“This tournament provides scholarships for seniors and that’s one of the reasons I love playing in it,” Brady said. “Put the names of some seniors in a hat based on the number of teams that participate. And those names that are drawn are awarded some scholarship money. Last year they gave away three or four $500 scholarships.”
George Robinson. Prep writer. 245-0747. email@example.com. Follow on Facebook and Twitter: @Cville_Sports.
Madisonville (Ky.) 8, Northeast 3
Madisonville (Ky.) 302 012 0 – 8 8 2
Northeast 000 120 0 – 3 4 4
NEHS: Alicia Veltri, Kendall Hyatt (3) and Michelle Donner. MNH: Mallory Peyton, Heather Webb (2) and Whitney Bean.
Hitters: Northeast: Donner: 2 1Bs; Autumn Adams: 2B, RBI. Madisonville: Heather Webb: HR, 2B, 5 RBI.
Record: Northeast (5-5-1)