By Rick Sheek
Hampton’s softball team opened the season showing true grit, but wasn’t able to record that inaugural victory for first-year coach Bill Doss.
Sullivan East prevailed over the home-standing Lady Bulldogs 6-3 in Monday’s non-conference action. Hampton scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, before leaving runners on second and third base.
“We just stranded too many,” Doss said. “Our hitting is going to be a key for us. We’re getting there slowly, but we’ve just got to punch runners in.
“You leave eight on base, you can’t win games like that, but the girls never quit. They battled for me, and that’s all I can ask for as a coach.”
The Bulldogs’ Molly Crabtree went the distance in striking out six with no walks. She yielded four earned runs, scattered 11 hits and hurled two wild pitches.
“Molly pitched a great game for us,” Doss said. “That’s all I can ask of her. She did her job on the mound, and she helped her cause.”
Crabtree fanned the side in the second for her fourth straight strike out. She also sent the Patriots down 1-2-3 in the third.
Hampton’s Kayla Stoneman singled in the second, but didn’t advance. Carmen Calderon singled and stole second in the third, followed by Danielle Guinn’s double, before both were stranded.
East surged to a 4-0 advantage in the fourth. A runner crossed on a wild pitch, Courtney Leonard doubled, Rachel Stidham singled her in, Ashlee Minor plated a run and Ashlyn Douglas rapped a run-scoring single.
Maggie Burchett and Calderon each singled in the fifth. The Bulldogs also left two on that inning.
Crabtree and Haylee Sloan led off the sixth with singles. Saddie Fletcher drove in a score to pull Hampton within 4-1.
The Patriots stretched their lead to 6-1 in the seventh. Angel Trent tagged a run-scoring single, and an error allowed a score.
Hampton’s Taylor Berry and Haley Trusler led off the bottom half with singles. With two out, Crabtree clubbed a two-run double.
Sloan then singled and stole second base, but the comeback ended a batter later. Also stealing bases for the Bulldogs were Calderon and Fletcher.
Batting 2 for 4 were Calderon, Crabtree and Sloan.
Trent also yielded 11 hits. She fanned two with no walks.
For the Patriots, Douglas went 2 for 3. Going 2 for 4 were Leonard, Casey Williams and Trent.
“I think our conference will be tough,” Doss said. “We’re taking nothing away from East. East is a great school and great program. We played them tough, and they just came to play too.”
Sullivan East 6, Hampton 3
Sullivan East 000 400 2 — 6 11 0
Hampton 000 001 2 — 3 11 2
Trent and Scott. Crabtree and Guinn. W—Trent (1-0). L—Crabtree (0-1).