All it takes in a seven inning contest is one bad inning and never was that more evident than on Monday afternoon at North Adams High School. The Lady Devils softball squad welcomed to town a very tough group of Fayetteville Lady Rockets and played their visitors to a 0-0 tie through four innings, but the fifth inning proved to be disastrous for the home team as Fayetteville took advantage of some sloppy North Adams defense and exploded for seven runs on their way to an 8-o win in Southern Hills Athletic Conference action.
Monday’s affair was a battle between two of the top pitchers in the SHAC in North Adams’ Jade Spriggs and Fayetteville’s Claire Carson. Carson got the best of the duel, using one of the best changeups in the area to keep the Lady Devils off balance for seven shutout innings.
The Lady Devils posed a threat in the bottom of the first when Spriggs led off the inning drawing a walk and Caitlin Young reached base via an error, but Carson struck out Hayley Taylor to leave two runners stranded. McKenna Hammons singled to lead off the second for Fayetteville, but Sprigss retired the next three in order.
Neither team posed a serious threat until the Lady Rockets came to bat in the top half of the fifth and in the words of North Adams head coach Kelly Boerger, “the wheels fell off the bus.”
Fayetteville sent 10 batters to the plate and seven of those ended up scoring as seven hits and four North Adams errors combined to spell disaster for the home side as the visitors used a combination of big hits and small bunts that would have lit up the scoreboard if it had been functioning correctly.
The inning mercifully ended when Carson blasted a triple to deep left field but was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay combination from left fielder Haley Crews to shortstop Meygan Richter to catcher Caitlin Young.
Spriggs and her defense recovered to hold the Lady Rockets scoreless in the sixth and in the bottom half, North Adams got a one-out single by Richter, but she was doubled off first when Young lined out to right to end the inning.
Fayetteville added another run in the top of the seventh, meaning all Carson had to do was finish off the Lady Devils in the bottom half. North Adams got a two-out base hit off the bat of Taylor Whited but Carson got the final out when Courtney Whalen flied out to center field, closing the door on an 8-0 victory for the Lady Rockets.
“We just need to work on reducing the number of errors that we makes as a team,” said Coach Boerger, as she saw her team’s miscues lead to the big Fayetteville fifth inning after her pitcher had allowed just one base runner through the first four.
It was a superb pitching performance by Carson for the Lady Rockets as she fired a complete game shutout, allowing just two hits and striking out 10, while allowing just one base on balls. Spriggs may have deserved a better fate as she went the distance for North Adams, allowing three earned runs and struck out nine batters.
The only two North Adams hits belonged to Richter and Taylor Whited as the Lady Devils fell to 3-5 on the season, 2-3 in the SHAC.
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.
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Fayetteville Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): M. Cornett 4-2-2-1, Smith 4-1-1-1, Wolf 4-1-1-0, Hammons 3-1-2-1, Carson 3-0-2-1, M. Cofrancesco 3-1-0-0, Jones 3-0-1-0, Moore 3-1-1-1, T. Cofrancesco 2-1-0-0, T. Cornett 1-0-0-0, Team 30-8-8-5.
Extra-Base Hits: Carson 3B
N. Adams Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Spriggs 2-0-0-0, Branch 3-0-0-0, Richter 3-0-1-0, Young 3-0-0-0, Taylor 2-0-0-0, Neal 1-0-0-0, Crews 2-0-0-0, H. Whited 1-0-0-0, T. Whited 3-0-1-0, Whalen 3-0-0-0, Dunseith 1-0-0-0, Boerger 0-0-0-0, Team 24-0-2-0.
Fayetteville Pitching: Carson (W) 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K
N. Adams Pitching:Spriggs (L) 7 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K