The Orange County softball team picked up a solid 1-run road win last week at William Monroe. On Tuesday the Hornets were able to squeak out another with a 2-1 victory at Monticello in a game that saw the Mustangs come awfully close to sending into extra innings.
“Grit is something we’re really trying to work on this season,” said Orange coach Neal Ferguson. “You definitely need it in ballgames like that to pull them out. We still made a few metal errors and left some runs on the basepaths. But we have seven seniors on this team and I think everyone of them found a way to be a factor tonight.”
The Hornets got off to good start early with Ashlee Brassart coming up RBI double in the first inning to draw first blood. In the third, Orange made it 2-0 after Samantha Ferguson reached on an error and driven in by Amya Ferguson who reached on a error on a pop fly.
With a little wiggle room to work with, Orange sophomore pitcher Hannah Meadows was dialed in early as she picked up six strikeouts in the first three innings. In the fifth Meadows worked out of a jam after Brooke Fallwell led it off with a double.
“I was just focused on what I had to do to keep throwing strikes,” Meadows said. “Outside and high was working, they didn’t like that.”
Monticello was able to get on the board in the sixth when Emily Clifford hit a double with two outs. After Jessica Williams reached on an error, Makenzie Turner brought home Clifford with an RBI double. However the inning ended on the play with Williams getting tagged at the plate after a perfect relay throw from Orange’s Lexi Lomax to keep things at 2-1.
The Mustangs thought they had things tied up in the bottom of the seventh when Shianna Harris crushed a ball deep to center with one out. The ball bounced of the yellow border at the top of the fence, but somehow managed to come back in play. Harris wound up with a triple on the hit.
“We made the adjustments in the later at-bats and it really put us in a position to possibly tie things up or win,” said Monticello coach Beth Humphries. “We started making good contact and then fed off of it. I like the attitude on this team. They don’t give up.”
Meadows was again resilient though. She picked up strikeout number nine to follow and then induced a game finishing fly ball to Samantha Ferguson in centerfield.
“My heart dropped (on the triple) and my teammates saved me there,” Meadows said. “They were just making the mentals plays, keeping their heads in the game.”
For Orange, Meadows finished with nine strikeouts to five hits and two walks. Meadows, Lomax and Brassart were both 1-for-2 at the plate.
Monticello’s Clifford wound up with the loss in the circle but had a strong game nonetheless. She threw just 86 pitches in seven innings and struck out five while giving up just four hits and two walks. She also went 1-for-2 at the dish. Fallwell was the only player on either squad with a multi-hit game. She finished 2-for-3.
Orange (3-0) will travel to Powhatan on Thursday. Monticello (2-2) plays at Central Woodstock on Friday.