By Rick Sheek
Monday night’s non-conference prep softball action saw Happy Valley prove just a slight bit better than Hampton.
The Lady Warriors prevailed 4-3 at Cannon-Gouge Park. Brooke Simmons scattered seven hits and slugged a solo home run for the winners.
“Our defense won this game,” Happy Valley coach Mike Dorsey said. “We had to have some defense, and we played good defense. We had a few errors, but we didn’t string them together like we’d been doing in the past.”
It was 4-2 with out in the seventh when the Bulldogs’ Molly Crabtree mashed a solo homer off the top of the center field fence to trim the deficit to one.
“We’re not taking anything from Happy Valley,” Hampton coach Bill Doss said. “They’ve got a good program and a good coach in Coach Dorsey, but I thought our girls battled. For a 1A school against a 3A school, I think we battled great.”
The affair was knotted at 1-apiece in the bottom of the fifth. Simmons led off with her blast.
“Brooke’s home run — that’s what she does,” Dorsey said. “She steps up and leads them. It’s almost like I expected it, but you never expect a home run. You expect them to get a big hit.”
Katrina Wilson then plated a run and Brittany Morefield lined a run-scoring single.
Danielle Guinn led the game off with a single, but was later thrown out at home by shortstop Krisley Roberts with catcher Kiara Coffey making the tag. The Bulldogs (1-4) loaded the bases, but didn’t manage to punch in a score.
Guinn doubled in the second, when Hampton stranded runners on second and third base.
Happy Valley (5-4) took the lead in the second when a runner crossed on an error. Hampton committed six errors on the evening.
In the fifth, the Bulldogs surged ahead 2-1. An error yielded a score, and Haylee Sloan tagged a sacrifice fly.
“We were there with them,” Doss said. “They knew they were in a ball game. We fought them every step up the way.
“A couple of things didn’t go our way, but I think down the stretch we’ll be as good as anybody out there.”
Simmons allowed one earned run. She fanned two and walked one with a wild pitch and two hit batters.
“I told her to just throw strikes, and if they hit a solo home run that’s not going to hurt us,” Dorsey said. “There’s no since in trying to pitch carefully to them. She’s their big hitter, and she proved it.”
Simmons batted 2 for 4. Kaylee Street stole three bases for the Warriors, who stranded 10 baserunners.
Crabtree was touched for six hits and surrendered three earned runs. She fanned four and walked one.
Hampton’s first three batters — Guinn, Saddie Fletcher and Carmen Calderon — each went 2 for 4. Calderon doubled.
The Bulldogs left seven runners on.
“We had a good hit from our senior leader, Molly Crabtree,” Doss said. “She pitched a good ball game. The girls are coming.
“Slowly but surely they’re paying their dues and they’re getting there.”
Hampton 000 020 1 — 3 7 6
Happy Valley 010 030 x — 4 6 2
Crabtree and Guinn. Simmons and Coffey. W—Simmons (2-1). L—Crabtree (1-4). HRs—Hampton: Crabtree (1); Happy Valley: Simmons (1).