Friday afternoon played out just like the rest of the season has for Southern Nash and Northern Nash.
The young Ladybirds lost another close game, their ninth of the season, and had two late chances to tie the score.
The Knights rode out a rocky stretch on the arm of pitcher Shelby Godwin, who is in her third season as a varsity pitcher.
The Knights held on for a 2-0 victory at Northern Nash High School, but all of it was amid play-altering weather – just another day in the 2014 spring schedule.
“It has just been a madhouse,” Northern Nash Greg Tharrington said of the season as a whole.
Northern Nash (3-3, 1-1 Big East) actually has practiced more times in the gym this season than on the field, which still has a giant wet spot in left field because of the early-season snow.
As the rain came down Friday afternoon, the Knights’ players despised it.
The ball had to be replaced after nearly every pitch, but Godwin was able to secure the victory.
Twice she pitched out of a jam with the game-tying run on second base.
In the fourth, she struck out two batters to end the inning and recorded the last out of the game on a strikeout with the bases loaded.
“At first, it got in my head,” said Godwin, who pitches at an off-campus site twice a week instead of at practice because of the weather. “I felt like we came together. We thought about the rain, but we had to put it out of our minds. We had to do it to get the job done.”
Godwin scored the insurance run in the fifth inning, but it was her skill in the circle that has made the difference.
“Without Shelby, we’d be in trouble,” center fielder Jessica Ricks said.
Southern Nash (1-9, 0-2), which won its only game of the season Thursday night against Louisburg, came up just short again.
Coach Christy Bailey-Reams said her young team is turning a corner.
“Everything that they’ve been working on, as far as offense and defense, is starting to come around,” Bailey-Reams said. “It’s showing. ... It’s coming around. You just keep fighting the battle, and it’s going to fall.”
The Firebirds loaded the bases in the seventh inning and had two runners on base with one out in the fifth but were unable to push any runs across.
Southern Nash lost last Saturday to Wendell Corinth-Holders, 1-0, when the only run of the game was scored in the fifth inning. Bailey-Reams said she prefers those kind of games instead of blowouts because her team is fighting until the end.
“We’re playing, and it shows,” she said. “... There’s just a few more little tweaks we’ve gotta fix.”
We’re working on it. The girls are doing what they need to do.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org