By Johnny Avant
WATER VALLEY – Gritty, tough, warriors, fighters- those were just a few of the words Coach Shane Brown used to describe his junior varsity softball team after yet another come from behind victory Friday afternoon that improved their record to 7-1.
This win came against the Bruce Lady Trojans who, earlier in the year, handed Water Valley their only loss of the season. In the top of the first inning, it looked as if Bruce was going to make it two wins in a row against the Lady Devils as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead.
Water Valley centerfielder Erica Rice didn’t let the six run deficit bother her as she started the Lady Devils off in the bottom of the inning with a double. Rice’s double sparked an explosion of offense that saw the Lady Devils score eight consecutive batters and nine runs in the inning.
Rice ended up with two hits in the inning, while first baseman Kelsey Neeley and right fielder Tierra Turner each added a double. Nine runs were enough for the win as relief pitcher Tyler Epes and the defense held the Lady Trojans scoreless the rest of the game. The final score was 9-6.
In the varsity game, it was a replay of the JV game in the top of the first inning. The Bruce Lady Trojans jumped out to a six run lead. However, in the bottom of the inning, Water Valley had no answer and trailed after one, 6-0.
The Lady Devils got one run back in the bottom of the second when centerfielder Anna True drew a walk, stole second base, and was later driven in by first baseman Kelsey Kimzey. Water Valley added another run in the third when shortstop Ashley Phillips tripled and was driven in on a single by catcher Shade Epes. Phillips drove in designated hitter Mallory Washington in the fourth inning cutting Bruce’s lead to three, but that was as close as the Lady Devils would get.
The Lady Trojans added two runs in the fifth and four in the sixth, while the Lady Devils only managed one more run in the game. In the end it was 12-4 loss for a Water Valley team that has now lost five of their last six games after starting 7-0.
After the game, Coach Brown told his players that he knew they were better than what they have shown the last few games and he challenged them to “have the want, desire, and focus to work through this tough time”.
If there was a bright spot in the loss to Bruce on Friday night, it was the fact that the lights were turned on for the first night game on the new field. The Lady Devils and their fans would like the thank all of those involved in making that happen.
The Lady Devils are now in the middle of a full week of softball. On Monday they traveled to Charleston to take on the Lady Tigers and they traveled to Independence Tuesday to play the Lady Wildcats. Results were unavailable at press time.
The Lady Devils will return home to play Cleveland East Side on Thursday. The junior varsity will play at 3:30 and the varsity will play at 5:00. Water Valley travels to Houlka on Friday for their final regular season game.