By Alyson McCullough
The James River softball program has been one of the most successful sports in James River High School’s history. With multiple state titles and many players being recognized regionally, there are very high expectations these girls have to uphold. This season, the team has a total of six seniors with only one planning to continue her softball career in college. Cameron Hildebrand has signed to play softball with Randolph-Macon College in the fall. For more information on Hildebrand, check out Cameron Hildebrand Commits to Randolph-Macon Softball on JR Knightly News!
On March 11th, 2019, the James River High School Knights Junior Varsity and Varsity teams went head to head against Nelson County High School Governors. The Junior Varsity team played at Nelson Country High and the Varsity team played at James River.
In the Varsity game, Nelson County came in with a bang and scored two runs pretty quickly, little did they know, the Knights had a few tricks up their sleeves as well. It was a tight game most of the time when the Knights got their chance to bat, they were not messing around. They were out for blood. All of the girls were screaming and cheering for their teammates and they were pumped to be kicking off the season with a good game. The Knights were prepared to do whatever it took to start the season off right. The head coach Steve Austin always tells the girls to “find a way” and that is a crucial part in the drive of this James River team.
Playing with nothing but pure grit and heart, the Knights came out on top, winning the game 9 to 4. Senior Erin Peery had three hits, scoring two runs, junior Lakota Lucado had two hits, scoring two runs and scored twice herself, and senior Cameron Hildebrand hit two doubles and a runner batted in (RBI), meaning she was called out, but a runner still scored. Sophomore Ainsley Simmons dominated the pitcher’s mound by only giving Nelson County five hits for the game.
Over a week later on March 19th, 2019, the James River Varsity Softball team traveled to Nelson County for another shot at beating the Governors. This time, the Knights were even more determined because they were already ecstatic about the first win and they were chomping at the bit to play again. The Knights came out much stronger and they seemed to play much harder. The girls were much more patient at the plate and more ambitious. Starting off the game with a lead of two runs and keeping the momentum going. Sophomore Lacey Lucado hit a home run during this game. In the second inning, the Knights scored four more runs, changing the score to 7 to 0. Nelson County was able to get a run back in the top of the third inning. James River continued to fight for runs and ended up winning at the end of the fifth inning by slaughter rule with a score of 13 to 3.
During the Junior Varsity game at James River on March 19th, 2019, eighth-grader Jenna Pugh hit an in the park home run and another eighth-grader, Lexi McCullough, hit an in the park home run and a walk-off triple to finish the game with a score of 15 to 5.