Kent to travel through­out; 1st-round game at Colonel

Kent County News - - SPORTS -

WASH­ING­TON — The Tro­jans finished with a flurry, win­ning four of their last five games to roll into the play­offs with the prover­bial head of steam, but coach Michelle Phillips ac­knowl­edged that “we are go­ing to have a rough road.”

Kent County (4-13) will travel through­out the 1A East Re­gion soft­ball tour­na­ment, which gets un­der­way to­day.

“If we limit our mis­takes and are able to hit and put the ball in play, any­thing can hap­pen,” Phillips wrote in an email Mon­day, strik­ing an op­ti­mistic tone.

“I have con­fi­dence in this group and I know they want to put their best ef­forts for­ward,” she said.

The Tro­jans’ first stop is Colonel Richard­son (12-6), which swept the reg­u­larsea­son se­ries, 15-2 and 12-2.

The win­ner of to­day’s Kent-Colonel Richard­son game has the un­en­vi­able draw of de­fend­ing state cham­pion Bo­hemia Manor on Mon­day.

Kent closed out the reg­u­lar sea­son with a pair of de­ci­sive wins — 23-4 at home against Cr­is­field on May 2, which was Se­nior Day, and 18-6 at Wash­ing­ton the fol­low­ing day.

“The end of the sea­son showed how the girls learned to play as one co­he­sive unit,” Phillips wrote in the email. “Our er­rors are still there, but not as over­bear­ing. We are mak­ing rou­tine plays, as well as some great de­fen­sive ef­forts. Also, our girls are hit­ting bet­ter.”

The Tro­jans needed only one big in­ning to put away their guests from Cr­is­field, scor­ing 14 runs in the last of the sec­ond when then sent 18 bat­ters to the plate. Most of Kent’s bat­ters reached on er­rors, but Lexi Lan­gen­felder and Jil­lian Hy­land pro­vided timely hits.

Kent’s best piece of hit­ting came in the fourth in­ning, when Lan­gen­felder and Sailor Bot­tom­ley swat­ted backto-back RBI triples, Lau­ren Edwards had a run-scor­ing sin­gle and Hy­land dou­bled in a run.

Lan­gen­felder re­tired Cr­is­field in or­der in the fifth on three con­sec­u­tive strike­outs to put this one in the books.

As lop­sided as the game ended, it didn’t start out that way. Cr­is­field scored four runs in the first in­ning, most of them un­earned, due to sloppy Kent de­fense.

The Tro­jans got one of those runs back in their first at-bat and then as­serted them­selves with 14 runs in the sec­ond in­ning. They added to their double-digit lead with one run in the third in­ning and seven runs in the fourth.

With the mercy-rule al­ready in ef­fect, they did not need to bat in the fifth.

Af­ter the shaky first in­ning, Lan­gen­felder and com­pany cruised once they had a sub­stan­tial lead.

First base­man Macy Wil­lis turned a double play in the fourth in­ning that nul­li­fied Cr­is­field’s lead­off sin­gle.

In the home half of the fourth, Maddy Ken­dall drew a lead­off walk and scored on a passed ball. Mat­tie Ce­sarini beat out an in­field sin­gle and sub­se­quently scored. Af­ter Ally Hick­man reached on a free pass, Cr­is­field made its pitch­ing change.

That didn’t pro­vide much re­lief, how­ever, because with one away, Lan­gen­felder, Bot­tom­ley and then Edwards pro­duced run­scor­ing hits in suc­ces­sion to stop any spec­u­la­tion as to when the game would end.

That came a half-in­ning later when Lan­gen­felder punched out the side.

MICHELLE PHILLIPS

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