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Battle softball fends off Gate City comeback for 4-2 win

May 20th, 2014 9:45 pm by Dave Ongie

Battle softball fends off Gate City comeback for 4-2 win

BRISTOL, Va. — Gate City's softball team seemed to be in the midst of a furious comeback on Tuesday afternoon at John Battle.

After Kasey Repass laced a two-run single down the first base line with one out in the top of the sixth inning, the Lady Blue Devils had cut Battle's four-run lead in half. But Battle's ace wasn't about to let Gate City climb back to the top of the Conference 40 standings.

Abby Hensley (15-2) induced a flyball and a groundout to get out of the sixth and set down the Lady Blue Devils in order in the seventh to lock up a key 4-2 victory.

"You can't rattle Abby," said Battle coach Ike Anderson, whose team remained unbeaten in conference play. "She's as steady as it comes. She's a quality pitcher. When she's hitting her spots, she's hard to beat."

The win gave Battle a two-game cushion over Gate City in the standings with two league games remaining before the postseason, but it didn't come easy. Neither team was able to score until Battle finally broke open the game by batting around in the bottom of the fourth.

The Lady Trojans (15-2, 10-0) plated four runs in the frame thanks to RBIs by Taylor Haworth, Kaycee Casteel, Brooke Rutherford and Tristan Blevins. The four-run, four-hit fourth frame was the lone bump in the road for Repass (6-4), who allowed only two hits in the other five innings she pitched.

Repass helped herself with a two-run hit in the sixth, but it proved to be too little, too late. Gate City coach Cara Noe said her team didn't do a good enough job at the plate early in the game, and that forced the Lady Devils (13-6, 9-2) to play catch-up.

"It simply boiled down to the fact that in the first couple innings, we didn't put the pressure on them that we needed to put on them defensively," Noe said, adding that the approach her players used in the sixth was the key to scoring runs on Battle.

"When we put the ball in play (in the sixth), we put it in play hard," Noe continued. "We made them make mistakes. In the first couple of innings, we put the ball in play, but they weren't hard hits. We've got to work on that. Hopefully we'll see them again, and we'll be able to fix it." 

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