Reid, along with catcher and defense, shut down Wood softball 4-0
STEPHENS CITY — Perhaps strikeouts are overrated.
When she is in the circle, Sherando senior pitcher Courtney Reid tries not to concern herself about how many batters she can overpower.
Instead, Reid trusts just where her catcher, fellow senior Haley Miles, sets up location and pitches to contact. And if a batter does put the ball in play, Reid is also confident enough that her defense has her back.
Matched up against old James Wood rival and sometimes travel ball teammate Kierstyn Peacoe, Reid traded zeroes across the board for most of Monday's Northwestern District softball game at Sherando Park, with Reid holding the upper hand with a one-run lead heading to the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Warriors put away any thoughts of a possible extra-innings affair with a three-run sixth and Reid closed out her shutout by starting a game-ending double play as Sherando stayed one game back of district leader Skyline in the loss column with a 4-0 win and three-game sweep of the season series with James Wood.
Reid had a two-hitter in place until the Colonels collected three straight hits with one out in the seventh in an attempt at a late comeback.
But, just like that, Reid induced Whitney Dick to hit back to the circle. Reid threw home for the force, and Miles threw on to first to wrap things up for the Warriors (10-6, 5-2 Northwestern).
“It’s kind of ironic because when we [faced] bases-loaded, I looked at Haley [Miles] and said ‘I’m coming to you,’” Reid said. “And, it happened to come to me.”
A lot of good things just came naturally for Reid. Because she had to be on top with command (no walks in the win), Reid tried to work both sides of the plate and mix her pitches in her efforts to slow a good hitting squad like James Wood (6-8, 5-4).
Right from the start, Miles had a feeling that Reid was going to have a good game. And after Reid had given up just two hits through six innings, Miles knew Reid was focused in and proving she could make pressure pitches with a slim lead to work with.
“Courtney hits her spots all the time,” Miles said. “She works well, inside and out. She was hitting her target, wherever I [set up]. She pitched a heck of a game.”
Peacoe was up to the challenge, just as well. The James Wood junior struck out the first four batters she faced and had faced just the minimum through three innings. Her defense made plays early on, and showed excellent awareness in the third when Sherando tried to get too aggressive with the short game.
Sherando's Carly Nixon reached on a drag bunt down the third-base side leading off the third and easily got moved over to second on Heidi Brown’s sacrifice. But Nixon got a little too greedy and was nailed on a bang-bang play at third trying to take two bases off Brown’s bunt. A soft liner on another bunt ended the inning and left Sherando empty-handed.
The Colonels were not so fortunate in the fourth. Michaela Carper led off with a sharply hit single to right, which got through for a two-base error. Carper was ready to stop at third before the relay was thrown away and allowed Carper to come all away around to score on what started out looking like a routine single.
“That was a huge play for us,” Sherando coach Clarence Smith said.
Peacoe would go on to retire the next seven in a row, which included the first out of the sixth. Down just 1-0, the Colonels still had a chance. That is, until another crucial error and the Warriors’ abilities to manufacture runs in their final at bat gave them some room to work with.
Pinch-hitter Ashley Saville tripled to right to get Sherando rolling, but she was seemingly caught in no man’s land when Carper bunted back to Peacoe.
Saville broke for home and looked to be an easy out, but the throw to the plate got away and Saville was safe on the error. Sara Stickman followed with a single, Katie Seymour had an RBI single up the middle, and Reid had a sacrifice fly to right that made it 4-0.
The Colonels couldn’t make a serious run until the seventh, though Peacoe had tripled to deep left-center with two outs in the first before she was left stranded.
Reid gave up a bloop single to Hayley Whitacre leading off the fourth before she retired 10 in a row before the Colonels got another baserunner with one out in the seventh.
The final stats listed just four strikeouts for Reid in her shutout, but she also got some solid defense from center fielder Megan Leake, who took away a hit from Dick off her liner in the fifth, and shortstop Carper, who was in the right spot at the right time in the sixth to field a ball hit by Taylor Rizzari off of Reid’s right thigh to throw on to first for the out.
Reid showed no sign of pain after the ball hit by Rizzari and said she felt none afterward. She did display a big smile, knowing the Warriors had pulled out a crucial district win and continued to have the upper hand on their cross-county rivals.
“I was working in and out and finding my spots — that’s pretty much all I did,” Reid said. “I was pretty on today.”
Though Sherando has outscored James Wood 17-1 in three games this season, all three have been close until the Warriors gradually were able to break through with a big inning or two.
“The ball seems to bounce their way every time we play them,” James Wood coach Ted McDaniel said. “It is what it is. We’ll see them one more time, and I’m sure we’ll be ready.”
Peacoe allowed just one earned run, no walks, and struck out six. Her triple was also the only extra-base hit for the Colonels.